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Income Equality, School Performance and Educational Mobility


  • Philipp C. Bauer
  • Christoph A. Schaltegger


Is income equality a precondition for higher school performance and higher educational mobility? Or is the opposite true? We test empirically whether school performance and intergenerational transmission of educational attainment is depending on income equality on the local level. Using Swiss data, we take advantage of an exogenous variation across 2740 local municipalities. Our results point to a beneficial effect of income inequality on school performance for children with middle educated parents. In contrast, children with poorly educated parents as well as children with highly educated parents perform worse in more unequal communities. However, the popular idea that societies with a more equal income distribution inevitably enhance the upward mobility of disadvantaged children cannot be confirmed.

Suggested Citation

  • Philipp C. Bauer & Christoph A. Schaltegger, 2011. "Income Equality, School Performance and Educational Mobility," CREMA Working Paper Series 2011-03, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  • Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2011-03

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    More about this item


    inequality; intergenerational transmission; mobility; educational attainment; income distribution; human capital;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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