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


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


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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  • Pekkarinen, Tuomas & Uusitalo, Roope & Kerr, Sari, 2009. "School tracking and intergenerational income mobility: Evidence from the Finnish comprehensive school reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 965-973, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:93:y:2009:i:7-8:p:965-973

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Solon, Gary, 1999. "Intergenerational mobility in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 29, pages 1761-1800 Elsevier.
    8. 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.
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