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School tracking and intergenerational income mobility: Evidence from the Finnish comprehensive school reform

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  • Pekkarinen, Tuomas
  • Uusitalo, Roope
  • Kerr, Sari

Abstract

This paper estimates the effect of a major education reform on intergenerational income mobility. The Finnish comprehensive school reform of 1972-1977 replaced the old two-track school system with a uniform nine-year comprehensive school and shifted the selection of students to vocational and academic tracks from age 11 to age 16. We estimate the effect of this reform on the intergenerational income elasticity using a representative sample of males born between 1960 and 1966. The identification strategy relies on a differences-in-differences approach and exploits the fact that the reform was implemented gradually across the country during a six-year period. The results indicate that the reform reduced the intergenerational income elasticity by 23% from the pre-reform elasticity of 0.30 to post-reform elasticity of 0.23.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 93 (2009)
Issue (Month): 7-8 (August)
Pages: 965-973

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:93:y:2009:i:7-8:p:965-973

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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Keywords: Intergenerational mobility Education policy Comprehensive school;

References

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  1. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1994. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 257-298 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Susan E. Mayer & Leonard M. Lopoo, 2005. "Has the Intergenerational Transmission of Economic Status Changed?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(1).
  3. Daniel Aaronson & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2005. "Intergenerational economic mobility in the U.S., 1940 to 2000," Working Paper Series, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago WP-05-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2003. "Why the Apple Doesn't Fall Far: Understanding Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 10066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Jo Blanden & Alissa Goodman & Paul Gregg & Stephen Machin, 2002. "Changes in Intergenerational Mobility in Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0517, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  6. Diego Restuccia & Carlos Urrutia, 2002. "Intergenerational Persistence of Earnings: The Role of Early and College Education," Working Papers diegor-02-03, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  7. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance John & Masterov, Dimitriy V., 2005. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 1675, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Solon, Gary, 1999. "Intergenerational mobility in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 29, pages 1761-1800 Elsevier.
  9. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Human Capital Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 821, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Christian Dustmann, 2004. "Parental background, secondary school track choice, and wages," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 209-230, April.
  11. Gary Solon, 2002. "Cross-Country Differences in Intergenerational Earnings Mobility," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 59-66, Summer.
  12. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1979. "An Equilibrium Theory of the Distribution of Income and Intergenerational Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1153-89, December.
  13. Anders Bohlmark & Matthew J. Lindquist, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variations in the Association between Current and Lifetime Income: Replication and Extension for Sweden," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 879-900, October.
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