Dissertation Spotlight: Essays on Educational Attainment and Labor Outcomes 

Researcher Audrienna Tremise Burgin writes this dissertation on Educational Attainment and Labor Outcomes; the dissertation includes three essays. Burgin argues that education is the root of all humans. Education is widely accepted.  All of the essays in this dissertation go into detail and relate back to education. The introduction explains in-depth how important educational attainment is during childhood and upper-level education. Burgin draws a direct correlation between an individual’s education and a higher chance of employment. The importance of education is not to be underestimated. Burgin expresses in the following chapters how there are many different factors that can have a role in educational attainment. 

Following that, in the second chapter, Burgin explores the correlation between parental wealth and education among different age groups, including but not limited to the ages of 0-5, 6-10, 11-14, etc. The researcher analyzes whether educational attainment can vary based upon different factors such as parental wealth and the different ages during childhood. The data used for this correlation is derived from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. This data is used to decipher whether parental wealth or income has a direct correlation to an individual’s education. The researcher conducts the study and incorporates different variables. The controlled variables are the parent’s race, location during childhood, age of household individuals, number of siblings, etc. The researcher states that the gaps in wealth and education are still prevalent; these gaps primarily stem from race. 

The next chapter includes information on the correlation between parents, education, and labor. The researcher explores the relationship of a spouses’ education on labor outcomes, mainly for women. Burgin uses data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth in 1979. The research question focuses on whether the husband’s level of education correlates to the wife’s earrings. Ultimately, Burgin’s research and analysis include men as well, using the data Burgin derives from each of the men and the women to compare and contrast the two. The researcher is able to collect data from both men and women to make the conclusion more reliable. Burgin concludes in this chapter that benefits derived from marriage are stronger and more robust for both men and women. 

In chapter four, the researcher moves on to analyze academic achievement in Florida, specifically at the Lake Wales Charter School System. The researcher uses school-level data to analyze the difference in the data from Lake Wales Charter Schools and plans to compare the specifics to Polk County Public Schools. Finally, the researcher runs the different estimates in correlation with each other, and in chapter five, Burgin concludes the dissertation. The researcher concludes that education is the primary source of wealth in the future. Burgin found that from the ages of 0-5 during childhood, parental wealth is the most important factor in predicting educational attainment during the ages of 25-36. 

Dr. Audrieanna Burgin is a graduate of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy at Florida State University. This post was based on Audrieanna’s dissertation, written by COSSPP Blog Intern, Katelyn DeStefano.

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