Date of this Version
The landmark study of race and education in the United States known as the "Coleman Report" (Coleman et al. 1966) concluded that family characteristics are more important determinants of educational achievement than school quality or teacher experience, particularly in the early stages of schooling. From this result sprang two prominent lines of academic inquiry. The first focuses on so-called education production functions (e.g., Hanushek 1997), with an eye toward cost-benefit analyses of various investments in teachers and schools. These studies often pay little attention to family background variables, treating them as exogenous controls. The second line of inquiry seeks to promote social policies that foster student achievement by studying why family background has such a pronounced effect on children's acquisition of human capital.
Date Posted: 18 December 2008
This document has been peer reviewed.