This paper analyzes the extent to which the effect of cultural capital on academic achievement varies across high- and low-achieving schooling environments. We distinguish three competing theoretical models: Cultural reproduction (cultural capital yields higher returns in high-achieving schooling environments than in low-achieving ones), cultural mobility (cultural capital yields higher returns in low-achieving environments), and cultural resources (cultural capital yields the same returns in different environments). We analyze PISA data from six countries and find that returns to cultural capital tend to be higher in low-achieving schooling environments than in high-achieving ones. These results support the cultural mobility explanation and are in line with previous research suggesting that children from low-SES families benefit more from cultural capital than children from high-SES families.
Ida Gran Andersen
Mads Meier Jæger