ESRI Discussion Paper Series No.318
Examining elementary school children’s extracurricular activity participation and their non-cognitive development using longitudinal data in Japan

Ryoji Matsuoka
Assistant Professor, Waseda Institute for Advanced Study, Waseda University
Makiko Nakamuro
Associate Professor, Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University
Tomohiko Inui
Professor, Preparatory Office for the Faculty of International Social Studies, Gakushuin University


This study attempts to reveal a mechanism of intergenerational transmission of advantages by assessing children’s learning experiences outside school. Using four waves of the Japan’s Longitudinal Survey of Babies in the 21st Century, the study investigates whether (1) children’s participation in extracurricular activities (EAs) varies according to parents’ educational backgrounds (as a proxy for socioeconomic status), (2) their EA participation is related to two aspects of their non-cognitive development, and (3) the EA participation mediates a relation between parents’ educational background and non-cognitive development.

This study’s results show that children with college-educated parents tend to participate in three categories of EAs: academics, high culture, and sports. These disparities in EA participation show a significant, albeit modest, association with children’s behavior problems and orientation to school. This Japanese case reveals unequal access to adult-led structured learning opportunities in the private education market and indicates that children who participate in such activities gain positive benefits in terms of the non-cognitive aspects of development that are formally and informally evaluated by schoolteachers.

Structure of the whole text(PDF-Format 1 File)

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  2. page1
  3. page3
    1. Introduction
  4. page4
    2. Relevant Literature
    1. page4
      2.1. Social Class and EA Participation in Elementary Education
    2. page7
      2.2.Extracurricular Activity Participation and Elementary-Age Children’s Development
  5. page9
    3. Rationale for This Study
  6. page11
    4. Research Questions and Hypotheses
  7. page13
    5. Method
    1. page13
      5.1. Data
    2. page14
      5.2. Dependent Variables
      1. page14
        Behavior Problems Index (BPI)
      2. page15
        Positive Orientation to School (POS)
    3. page16
      5.3. Independent Variables
      1. page16
        EA Participation in Academics
      2. page17
        EA Participation in High Culture
      3. page17
        EA Participation in Sports
    4. page18
      5.4. Control Variables
      1. page18
        Parental Education
      2. page18
        Annual Household Income
      3. page19
      4. page19
        Born in January
      5. page19
      6. page19
        Father’s Absence
      7. page20
        Number of Siblings
      8. page20
    5. page20
      5.5. Method
    6. page22
      5.6. Model
      1. page23
        Level 1 Model (within-individual changes)
      2. page23
        Level 2 Model (between individuals)
  8. page24
    6. Results
    1. page24
      6.1. EA Participation in Academics, High Culture, and Sports
    2. page25
      6.2. Behavior Problems Index
    3. page27
      6.3. Positive Orientation to School
  9. page28
    7. Discussion
  10. page34
    8. Research Implications
  11. page35
    9. Conclusion
  12. page37
  13. page40
    1. page46
      Table 1. Descriptive Statistics of Variables
    2. page47
      Table 2. Distributions of EA Participation (N = 33,799)
    3. page48
      Table 3. Participation Rate by Category
    4. page49
      Table 4. Means by Parental Education (N = 33,799)
    5. page50
      Table 5. Means of Participation Rate by Parental Education (N = 33,799)
    6. page51
      Table 6. EA Participation Predicting Problem Behaviors and Orientation to School
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