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Intergenerational Transmission of Educational Attainment in Germany: The Last Five Decades

  • Guido Heineck
  • Regina T. Riphahn

Over the last decades the German education system underwent numerous reforms in order to improve "equality of opportunity", i.e. to guarantee all pupils equal access to higher education. At the same time internationally comparative evidence yields that Germany features particularly low intergenerational mobility with respect to educational attainment. This study investigates the development in intergenerational education mobility in Germany for the birth cohorts 1929 through 1978 and tests whether the impact of parental background on child educational outcomes changed over time. In spite of massive public policy interventions and education reforms our results yield no significant reduction in the role of parental background for child outcomes over the last decades.

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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 37.

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Length: 37 p.
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp37
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  1. Boockmann, Bernhard & Steiner, Viktor, 2000. "Cohort effects and the returns to education in West Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 00-05, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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  3. Pfeiffer, Friedhelm & Gernandt, Johannes, 2007. "Rising Wage Inequality in Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-019 [rev.2], ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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  8. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2002. "The Inheritance of Inequality," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 3-30, Summer.
  9. Schütz, Gabriela & Ursprung, Heinrich W. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2008. "Education policy and equality of opportunity," Munich Reprints in Economics 19901, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  10. Piketty, Thomas, 2000. "Theories of persistent inequality and intergenerational mobility," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 429-476 Elsevier.
  11. Kenneth A. Couch & Thomas A. Dunn, 1997. "Intergenerational Correlations in Labor Market Status: A Comparison of the United States and Germany," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(1), pages 210-232.
  12. Arnaud Chevalier & Kevin Denny & Dorren McMahon, 2003. "A multi-country study of inter-generational educational mobility," Open Access publications 10197/1105, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  13. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts of American Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 262-333, April.
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  16. Dearden, Lorraine & Machin, Stephen & Reed, Howard, 1997. "Intergenerational Mobility in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(440), pages 47-66, January.
  17. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Stephen Machin, 2003. "Changes in Educational Inequality," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 03/079, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  18. Christian Dustmann, 2004. "Parental background, secondary school track choice, and wages," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 209-230, April.
  19. Ermisch, John & Francesconi, Marco, 2001. "Family Matters: Impacts of Family Background on Educational Attainments," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(270), pages 137-56, May.
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  22. Bauer, Philipp C. & Riphahn, Regina T., 2004. "Heterogeneity in the Intergenerational Transmission of Educational Attainment: Evidence from Switzerland on Natives and Second Generation Immigrants," IZA Discussion Papers 1354, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  23. Ludger Woessmann, 2004. "How Equal Are Educational Opportunities? Family Background and Student Achievement in Europe and the United States," CESifo Working Paper Series 1162, CESifo Group Munich.
  24. Arnaud Chevalier & Kevin Denny & Dorren McMahon, 2003. "A multi-country study of inter-generational educational mobility," Working Papers 200314, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  25. Flossmann Anton L. & Pohlmeier Winfried, 2006. "Causal Returns to Education: A Survey on Empirical Evidence for Germany," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 226(1), pages 6-23, February.
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  27. repec:ucn:wpaper:10197/1105 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Ermisch, John F & Francesconi, Marco, 1997. "Family Matters," CEPR Discussion Papers 1591, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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