Gansu Survey of Children and Families Papers

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



Suggested Citation:

Zhang, L. (2011). Mothers' Educational Expectations and Children's Enrollment: Evidence from Rural China (Working Paper). Gansu Survey of Children and Families.


How much would mothers' educational expectations influence their children's actual school attainment in the rural setting of China? This study explores the impact of mothers' educational expectations on children’s schooling by focusing on the discrepancy in expectations between mothers and children. Going beyond existing literature, this study pays special attention to the directions of mother-child discrepancy. I analyze Gansu Survey of Children and Families (GSCF), the longitudinal data, from rural Gansu, China. The analysis reveals that mother-child discrepancy in educational expectations is substantial. Children have a much better chance to stay in school when their mothers share with them the same college dream, or when mothers hold expectations higher than their own. Children at high risk of dropping out, that is those who are from impoverished families and those who struggle academically, benefit most from this positive impact. And mothers' influence becomes stronger as children advance in their schooling.

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Date Posted: 23 March 2011