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Does money buy higher schooling?: Evidence from secondary school track choice in Germany


  • Tamm, Marcus


The German schooling system selects children into different secondary school tracks already at a very early stage in life. School track choice heavily influences choices and opportunities later in life. It has often been observed that secondary schooling achievements display a strong correlation with parental income. We use sibling fixed effects models and information on a natural experiment in order to analyse whether this correlation is due to a causal effect of income or due to unobservable factors that themselves might be correlated across generations. Our main findings suggest that income has no positive causal effect on school choice and that differences between high- and low-income households are driven by unobserved heterogeneity, e.g. differences in motivation or parenting quality.

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  • Tamm, Marcus, 2008. "Does money buy higher schooling?: Evidence from secondary school track choice in Germany," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 536-545, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:27:y:2008:i:5:p:536-545

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Piopiunik, Marc, 2014. "The effects of early tracking on student performance: Evidence from a school reform in Bavaria," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 12-33.
    2. John, Katrin & Thomsen, Stephan L., 2015. "School-track environment or endowment: What determines different other-regarding behavior across peer groups?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 122-141.
    3. María-Jesús Mancebón & Domingo P. Ximénez-de-Embún & Mauro Mediavilla & José-María Gómez-Sancho, 2015. "Does educational management model matter? New evidence for Spain by a quasiexperimental approach," Working Papers 2015/40, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    4. Hoffmann, Malte & Dr. Boll, Christina, 2015. "It's not all about parents' education, it also matters what they do. Parents' employment and children's school success in Germany," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112933, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Marjan, MAES, 2008. "Poverty persistence among Belgian elderly in the transition from work to retirement : an empirical analysis," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2008042, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
    6. Tamás Keller & Guido Neidhöfer, 2014. "Who Dares, Wins?: A Sibling Analysis of Tertiary Education Transition in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 713, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    7. José Manuel Cordero & Diego Prior & Rosa Simancas, 2016. "A comparison of public and private schools in Spain using robust nonparametric frontier methods," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 24(3), pages 659-680, September.
    8. Riphahn, Regina T. & Trübswetter, Parvati, 2011. "The intergenerational transmission of educational attainment in East and West Germany," IAB Discussion Paper 201104, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    9. Wölfel, Oliver & Heineck, Guido, 2012. "Parental risk attitudes and children's secondary school track choice," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 727-743.
    10. Huebener, Mathias, 2015. "The role of paternal risk attitudes in long-run education outcomes and intergenerational mobility," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 64-79.
    11. Schildberg-Hoerisch, Hannah, 2011. "Does parental employment affect children's educational attainment?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1456-1467.
    12. Maes, Marjan, 2008. "Poverty persistence among Belgian elderly: true or spurious?," ISER Working Paper Series 2008-24, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    13. Biewen, Martin & Tapalaga, Madalina, 2017. "Life-cycle educational choices in a system with early tracking and ‘second chance’ options," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 80-94.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth


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