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Wenig Chancengleichheit in Deutschland: Familienhintergrund prägt eigenen ökonomischen Erfolg


  • Daniel D. Schnitzlein


For many years, securing equal life opportunities has been a normative goal shared by all democratic societies in the western world. Although, in principle, all citizens enjoy the same rights, in reality, individual life opportunities still vary according to family background which, in turn, shapes the prevailing pattern of social inequality. This is not a specifically German phenomenon. Based on a new methodology, the present findings demonstrate that, in Germany, family background has a significant impact on individual earned income, family income, hourly wages, and also educational success: 40 percent of individual earned income inequality can be explained by family background. In the case of educational achievement, this figure even exceeds 50 percent. By international standards, this places equality of opportunity in Germany at a similarly low level as in the US and significantly lower than in Denmark. Die Sicherstellung von gleichen Lebenschancen ist ein Ziel, das seit vielen Jahren alle westlich geprägten demokratisch verfassten Gesellschaften teilen. Obwohl alle Bürger formal über gleiche Rechte verfügen, sind auch in Deutschland die Chancen für individuelle Lebensverläufe je nach familiärem Hintergrund unterschiedlich und prägen damit das Muster der sozialen Ungleichheit. Die vorliegenden Ergebnisse zeigen anhand neuer methodischer Verfahren, dass der Einfluss des Familienhintergrundes auf individuelle Arbeitseinkommen, Familieneinkommen, Stundenlöhne sowie Bildungserfolg in Deutschland im internationalen Vergleich beachtlich hoch ist: 40 Prozent der Ungleichheit im individuellen Arbeitseinkommen werden durch den Familienhintergrund erklärt. Beim Bildungserfolg liegt der Erklärungsbeitrag der Herkunft sogar über 50 Prozent. Im internationalen Vergleich ist die Chancengleichheit in Deutschland damit auf einem ähnlich niedrigen Niveau wie in den USA und signifikant geringer als in Dänemark.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel D. Schnitzlein, 2013. "Wenig Chancengleichheit in Deutschland: Familienhintergrund prägt eigenen ökonomischen Erfolg," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 80(4), pages 3-9.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwob:80-4-1

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    Cited by:

    1. Cuntz, Alexander & Czernich, Nina & Dauchert, Helge & Meurer, Petra & Philipps, Annika, 2015. "Gesellschaftliche Dimensionen von Innovation: Zentrale Fragen und Datenlage," Studien zum deutschen Innovationssystem 18-2015, Expertenkommission Forschung und Innovation (EFI) - Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation, Berlin.
    2. Boll, Christina & Hoffmann, Malte, 2015. "It's not all about parents' education, it also matters what they do: Parents' employment and children's school success in Germany," HWWI Research Papers 162, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    3. repec:clr:wugarc:y:2016v:42i:4p:617 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:clr:wugarc:y:2016v:42i:04p:617 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. René Böheim & Christina Judmayr, 2014. "Bildungs- und Einkommenskorrelationen von Geschwistern in Österreich," Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft - WuG, Kammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte für Wien, Abteilung Wirtschaftswissenschaft und Statistik, vol. 40(4), pages 531-557.

    More about this item


    Equality of opportunity; sibling correlations; intergenerational mobility; SOEP;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion


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