Open Access Journal Article

The Rural-Urban Divide: Family Social Capital, Family Cultural Capital, and Educational Outcomes of Chinese Adolescents

by Claire Gek Ling Tan a orcid  and  Zheng Fang b,* orcid
National University of Singapore, Singapore
Office of Graduate Studies, Singapore University of Social Sciences, Singapore
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
JEA  2023, 27; 2(2), 27;
Received: 2 March 2023 / Accepted: 19 April 2023 / Published Online: 27 April 2023


A large body of research has been dedicated to the study of relationships between social or cultural capital and educational outcomes in Western countries. However, few studies have examined these associations in a Chinese context, and even fewer have examined the effects of both forms of capital on educational outcomes simultaneously within a familial context in China. This study offers a reformulation of the associations between family social capital and family cultural capital on the educational outcomes of adolescents in both rural and urban China. Using the structural equation modelling approach and the China Education Panel Survey, this study sheds some new insights – the presence of significant compositional differences in both family social capital and family cultural capital between rural and urban Chinese adolescents, and differential effects of both forms of capital on educational outcomes were found. Family social capital presented larger positive effects on the academic effort and educational aspiration of rural adolescents while having no positive effects in facilitating the academic achievement of both rural and urban adolescents. Meanwhile, family cultural capital presented larger positive effects for urban adolescents on all educational outcomes as compared to their rural counterparts.

Copyright: © 2023 by Tan and Fang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
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ACS Style
Tan, C. G. L.; Fang, Z. The Rural-Urban Divide: Family Social Capital, Family Cultural Capital, and Educational Outcomes of Chinese Adolescents. Journal of Economic Analysis, 2023, 2, 27.
AMA Style
Tan C G L, Fang Z. The Rural-Urban Divide: Family Social Capital, Family Cultural Capital, and Educational Outcomes of Chinese Adolescents. Journal of Economic Analysis; 2023, 2(2):27.
Chicago/Turabian Style
Tan, Claire G. L.; Fang, Zheng 2023. "The Rural-Urban Divide: Family Social Capital, Family Cultural Capital, and Educational Outcomes of Chinese Adolescents" Journal of Economic Analysis 2, no.2:27.
APA style
Tan, C. G. L., & Fang, Z. (2023). The Rural-Urban Divide: Family Social Capital, Family Cultural Capital, and Educational Outcomes of Chinese Adolescents. Journal of Economic Analysis, 2(2), 27.

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