Asset Building Financial Inclusion Working Paper

Parental Asset Accumulation Trajectories and Children’s College Outcomes

The effects of parental assets on children’s educational outcomes have mainly been explored from the perspective of asset holdings. However, the process of asset accumulation may also have effects. While asset-based policies are predicated on the premise of asset accumulation, little is known about the effects of different asset accumulation trajectories. This study attempts to fill this gap. The results indicate that youths born into households that had asset holdings significantly higher than zero have better college outcomes compared to youths born into households with lower levels of net worth that did not increase significantly over time. However, when lower-wealth households experience significant asset accumulation over time, youths from these households have similar educational outcomes as youths from wealthier households. Finally, the results indicate that the effects of assets are partially or fully mediated by the mother’s educational expectations. Implications for asset-based policy are discussed.

The paper was presented during the Assets and Education Symposium, a March 2012 conference cosponsored by the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare and CSD. The symposium was convened to explore the role of savings and asset holding in post-secondary educational achievement. Many of the original conference papers are accessible in the center’s online collection and were subsequently developed for publication in Assets and Educational Attainment: Theory and Evidence, a special issue of Economics of Education Review.

Subsequent publication: Loke, V. (2013). Parental asset accumulation trajectories and children’s college outcomes. Economics of Education Review, 33, 124–133. doi:10.1016/j.econedurev.2012.12.002

Project: College Success


Loke, V. (2012). Parental asset accumulation trajectories and children’s college outcomes (CSD Working Paper No. 12-33). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.