Exploring the Unequal Distribution of Social Capital across Social Groups: Implications for Transfer Students

Kristina L. Zeiser, Pennsylvania State University

Previous research has uncovered that the negative effects of school transfers on academic outcomes are relatively independent of the effect of school transfers on measures of social capital. However, past studies have 1) relied on proxy measures of social capital, 2) not considered the unequal distribution of social capital across social groups, and 3) ignored that decreases in one form of social capital may be counteracted by concurrent increases in other forms of social capital. Using the National Education Longitudinal Study, this study shows that, among Hispanics, students from low SES homes, and students from single-parent families, low levels of parent-school social capital are compensated for by higher levels of student-school social capital. Moreover, preliminary results suggest that students who participate in extracurricular activities experience smaller declines in student-school social capital after transferring schools, while African American students experience greater declines in parent-school social capital relative to white students.

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Presented in Poster Session 3