Expanding Opportunity Structures: Parental Investments in Education, Migration, and Extrinsic Risk Reduction among Indo-Fijians
Postprint version. Published in Human Nature, Volume 21, Issue 2, January 1, 2010, pages 165-185.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1007/s12110-010-9086-0.
Parental investment strategies are contingent on parental capacities and ecology. Parental embodied capital may be important in aspiration construction and investments in children’s human capital, which is especially important in urban environments where skills are directly tied to wage income. For Indo-Fijians, rural ecology strongly limits opportunities. Here this limitation is conceptualized as extrinsic risk and immune to reduction through enhanced parental investment. Urban migration is interpreted as a risk reduction strategy, given an expanded urban opportunity structure (lower extrinsic risk). Qualitative and quantitative data from 678 Indo-Fijian children suggest that, contingent on parental capacities, parents migrate in response to their perceptions of decreased opportunities that manifest as high levels of extrinsic risk in rural environments. Parental investment in quality and quantity corresponds to parental perceptions of extrinsic risk, which in turn correspond to migration status, indicating that parental strategies do respond to perceived limits on investment payoffs.
Social and Behavioral Sciences