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Culture and the Family: An Application to Educational Choices in Italy


  • Paola Giuliano

    () (UCLA, NBER, and IZA Los Angeles)


In this essay we show that family background is crucial in determining the choice of high school in Italy. It is the choice of high school that then determines subsequent academic performance. The evidence suggests that graduating from a general high school increases the probability of attending university, whereas no effect can be found for family background. The fact that the majority of students with a poor family background tend to go to technical schools, following family suggestions, has an impact in prolonging the low level of educational mobility and leading to a low rate of college graduates in Italy.

Suggested Citation

  • Paola Giuliano, 2008. "Culture and the Family: An Application to Educational Choices in Italy," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 98(4), pages 3-38, July-Augu.
  • Handle: RePEc:rpo:ripoec:v:98:y:2008:i:4:p:3-38

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Giorgio Brunello & Massimo Giannini, 2004. "Stratified or Comprehensive? The Economic Efficiency of School Design," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 51(2), pages 173-193, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Filippin, Antonio & Paccagnella, Marco, 2012. "Family background, self-confidence and economic outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 824-834.
    2. Enrico Conti & Silvia Duranti & Carla Rampichini & Nicola Sciclone, 2015. "Quanto conta l’effetto scuola nel ciclo primario? L’efficacia delle istituzioni scolastiche in Toscana," ECONOMIA PUBBLICA, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2015(3), pages 59-84.
    3. Francesca Modena & Concetta Rondinelli & Fabio Sabatini, 2014. "Economic Insecurity and Fertility Intentions: The Case of Italy," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(S1), pages 233-255, May.
    4. Alessandra Casarico & Luca Micheletto & Alessandro Sommacal, 2015. "Intergenerational transmission of skills during childhood and optimal public policy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(2), pages 353-372, April.
    5. Gabriella Berloffa & Francesca Modena & Paola Villa, 2011. "Inequality of opportunity for young people in Italy: Understanding the role of circumstances," Working Papers 241, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.

    More about this item


    culture; educational choices; family ties;

    JEL classification:

    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


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