Dissertation Abstracts

Neighborhood Counts: Neighborhood Effects and Educational Achievement in Urban China

Author: Yu Xia, sakurasunny@gmail.com
Department: Department of Sociology
University: Fudan University, China
Supervisor: Xin Liu
Year of completion: 2016
Language of dissertation: Chinese

Keywords: Neighborhood Effect , Academic achievement , Neighborhood Advantage Index , Cultural heterogeneity
Areas of Research: Education , Stratification , Poverty, Social Welfare and Social Policy


Different from the existing theories that emphasize the effect of family socioeconomic status and school effects, this study suggests that the importance of neighborhood effects in urban communities for adolescents' academic achievement. Based on the data of urban communities, families, adults and adolescents, this study constructs the Neighborhood Advantage Index based on the data of CFPS2010. The hierarchical linear model is used to test the direct effect of the structural concentration of neighborhood on the academic achievement of adolescents, and the mediation between structural neighborhood effect and children’s educational outcomes. Furthermore this study explores heterogeneity of neighborhood effects comparing with merely family and school effect. The study confirms that in urban communities in China, after controlling the family background and school effects, the neighborhood advantage concentration has a positive influence on academic achievement of young children. The higher the concentration of neighborhood advantages, the higher the academic achievement of children and adolescents get. This conclusion is consistent with the theoretical expectation of the social isolation theory. The mediation analysis includes two parts: the social interaction process and the cultural process. The higher the Neighborhood Advantage Index, the lower the neighborhood social capital. The higher the Neighborhood Advantage Index, the lower the level of cultural heterogeneity of neighborhood. The cultural heterogeneity of neighborhood has a significant negative effect on the achievement in China after controlling the individual level variables and the Neighborhood Advantage Index as structural effect of neighborhood. Cultural heterogeneity is the mediation of the neighborhood effect and children's development, while social capital theory cannot explain the process of the neighborhood effect. The analysis of the heterogeneity of neighborhood effects shows that the effects of family cultural capital on the academic achievement of adolescents are different due to the degree of neighborhood advantage concentration. Parents’ education attainment, which reflects the institutional cultural capital of the family, has a significant negative interaction effect on the children’s educational achievement. Parental involvement, which reflects the embodied cultural capital of the family, has a significant negative interaction effect on the children’s educational achievement. The research supports the relative deprivation hypothesis. For the children who live in the relatively poor community, strengthening their parents' participation, supervision and family education involvement can alleviate the negative effect of disadvantaged neighborhood. For children with insufficient parental participation or family education resources, living in a more advantaged concentration neighborhoods, will be more favorable for their academic achievements. The study also find that differences in community neighborhoods did not alter the impact of household income and school effects on adolescent children's academic achievement.