Theses Doctoral

Social Capital and Adolescents Mathematics Achievement: A Comparative Analysis of Eight European Cities

Gisladottir, Berglind

This study examines the impact of social capital on mathematics achievement in eight European cities. The study draws on data from the 2008 Youth in Europe survey, carried out by the Icelandic Center for Social Research and Analysis. The sample contains responses from 17,312 students in 9th and 10th grade of local secondary schools in the following cities: Bucharest in Romania, Kaunas, Klaípéda and Vilnius in Lithuania, Reykjavík in Iceland, Riga and Jurmala in Latvia and Sofia in Bulgaria. The study builds on social capital theory presented in 1988 by the American sociologist James Coleman. He argued that social capital in both family and community is a key factor in the creation of human capital, meaning that children that possess more social capital in their lives will do better in school. Several prior studies have empirically supported the theory, although most of those studies were carried out in the United States. The current study tests whether the theory of social capital holds across different cultures. The findings partly support the theory, showing that the key measures of social capital are positively correlated with mathematics achievement in all of the cities. The impact however was less in many of the cities than expected. Additionally, Coleman's key social capital variable did not positively associate with mathematics achievement in cities around Europe. The implications of that finding are discussed in the thesis.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Mathematics Education
Thesis Advisors
Vogeli, Bruce R.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 30, 2013