Friday, May 21, 2010

Books are good

We know that education of the parents predicts the education level of the kids. But now, from a 20-year study involving 70,000 cases in 27 countries, we know that "Whether rich or poor, residents of the United States or China, illiterate or college graduates, parents who have books in the home increase the level of education their children will attain."

The difference was striking. The difference in later education between having zero books in the home and 500 is the same magnitude as between having parents with a third-grade education and parents with a bachelor's degree. Either having parents with degrees or 500 books pushes a kid further in their education by  2.4 years in the US or 6.6 years in China. All countries combined, it's 3.4 years.

And it scales. Having 20 books makes a difference. A smaller difference than 500, but the more the better, up to 500, where they stopped looking.

This is much cooler than budget meetings. And it's gratifying to know I did something right with my own issue.

UPDATE: I wonder how additive it is. Does having both a BA and 500 books add 4.8 years of education? And how far up does it scale? Does having an MA or PhD or 2000 books have an effect? How much?

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