The purpose of the study is double: on the one part, the presentation and popularization of a scarcely used method in domestic sociology, the contextual analysis, on the other, the presentation of the effects of the cultural and social capital on high-school students’ efficiency within an OTKA 2006–2008 research project. The regression models called attention to the importance of the contextual (institution-wide) effects on high-school students’ efficiency and performance. This study presents these effects by using Davis’s typology and separates the effects on individual and group levels. Among the factors that explain school success are sex, cultural capital brought from home and the students’ and their parents’ relationship resources (in the case of the last one we accentuate those relationships which are determined by the students’ and their parents’ religiousness). We came to the results that while boys’ school (class) percentage does not have any contextual effect, the percentage of parents with degree per school/class already has an effect on the students’ school efficiency, and concerning social capital we also have interesting results.
In this paper, we seek to answer the research question as to whether students take into account the predictions of human capital theory (namely the higher wages associated with further studies) in their decision to participate in higher education. Our alternative research question is whether students can be described by Bourdieu's theory on capital conversion, that is, whether they aim to accumulate cultural and social capital during their studies, which can also be profitable for them in the future. Our research method is quantitative: we use cluster analysis to examine the motives behind further studies and employ cross tabulation and variance analysis to reveal the relationship between clusters and social background variables. We find that the wage premium associated with further studies is not the most important motive among students; it holds only minor importance even for those from a disadvantaged social background. The results suggest that students in secondary schools, especially talented but underprivileged ones, should be motivated to enter higher education by informing them about the potential wage premium they can attain if they study further. Importantly, we also find that underprivileged students may be unaware of the fact that higher education is an efficient mechanism to accumulate social and cultural capital, which then can be converted into economic capital.