Stratification in parents’ selection of developmentally appropriate books for children: register-based evidence from Danish public libraries

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt

This paper studies socioeconomic gradients in parents' selection of developmentally appropriate children's books from public libraries. I draw on developmental gradients research to hypothesize that families with high socioeconomic status (SES) select a higher share of books that match children's developmental stage in order to best improve children's learning environments. Based on Danish registry data on all books borrowed from public libraries in 2020, I find that highly educated families are more likely to use libraries and borrow more books, but they do not select a larger share of developmentally appropriate books; in fact, they select a slightly lower share. In contrast, high-income families borrow both a little more books and a little higher share of developmentally appropriate books, than low-income families. The supplementary analyses show that results are robust across families with children of different ages and to account for nonrandom selection into the sample of library users, socioeconomic differences in children's reading skills, and the impact of library lockdowns due to Covid-19. I conclude that stratification in library book selection is more prominent concerning the voraciousness with which highly educated parents provide reading inputs (more books) than how discriminating they are in terms of selecting developmentally appropriate books.
TidsskriftEuropean Societies
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)37-65
StatusUdgivet - 2023


ID: 311875213