Social status and social capita: influences on the obtainment of a starters qualification.
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Objective. In the Netherlands, the focus on education has resulted, among other things, in emphasizing that individuals should have at least a so-called starters qualification for being successful on the labour market. Parents’ social status can be of influence in the obtainment of a starters qualification, even as the social capital of the individual. This research focuses on the influence of parents’ social status on obtaining a starters qualification and the possible mediating effect of social capital. Method. This research is based on data of the European Social Survey (ESS). To provide a big enough sample with regards to participants without a starters qualification, a selection has been made of four countries, similar to the Netherlands in regards to welfare state regime and educational system. The participants examined were between 15 and 30 years old. To assess whether there is a relationship between parents’ social status and the probability of obtaining a starters qualification, mediated by social capital, linear and logistic regressions have been performed. Results. The results show a positive association between parents’ social status and the probability of obtaining a starters qualification. They also show a positive association between parents’ social status and structural social capital and cognitive social capital. Also, the mediating effect of cognitive social capital turned out be significant, while structural social capital did not turn out to be a significant mediator. Conclusion. This research confirms the unequal chances in obtaining a starters qualification, due to parents’ social status and the mediating effect of cognitive social capital. More awareness about the influence of parents’ social status on the obtainment of a starters qualification is needed to create equal educational chances for all students. A recommendation would be, to make teachers aware of these mechanisms to provide help to students with parents from relatively low social status.