Access to Social Capital and Educational Returns for Children of Immigrants: Evidence from Three Swedish Studies



In this article, we study whether social capital contributes to ethnic inequality in education or whether there is evidence of counter-stratification. We use data from three surveys of Swedish ninth-graders in different contexts to fit regression models for access to social capital and educational returns. Our results show that students with parents from Asia or Southeast Europe had equal or better access to social capital, compared to children with at least one parent born in Sweden. Results for children with African background were mixed. Regarding educational outcomes, we found similar rates of returns from social capital across groups. Better access to social capital thus seems to buffer against disadvantages for some, but not all, groups.


Counter-stratificationSocial capitalEducationImmigrant backgroundYouth
  • Year: 2020
  • Volume: 10 Issue: 2
  • Page/Article: 50–66
  • DOI: 10.33134/njmr.248
  • Submitted on 7 Nov 2018
  • Accepted on 16 Oct 2019
  • Published on 28 May 2020
  • Peer Reviewed