Recent research suggests that participation in organized extracurricular activities by children and adolescents can have educational and occupational payoffs. This research also establishes that participation is strongly associated with social class. However, debate has ensued-primarily among qualitative researchers-over whether the association between class and activities stems exclusively from inequalities in objective resources and constraints or whether differing cultural orientations have a role. We address this debate using a nationally representative sample of children's time diaries, merged with extensive information on their families, to model participation in, and expenditures on, organized activities. While we cannot directly observe cultural orientations, we account for a substantially wider array of resources and constraints than previous studies. We find that, above and beyond these factors, maternal education has a consistently large effect on the outcomes we study. We discuss the plausibility of a cultural interpretation of this result, as well as alternative interpretations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science