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Der Einfluss des Einkommens der Eltern auf die Schulwahl


  • Thorsten Schneider


The impact of parents' education and social position on their children's educational career is very well known for Germany. However, there is little research on the influence of parental income. The costs of longer-lasting school tracks and the financial opportunities of the parents are crucial in models on educational choice. This article examines the connection between income and school tracking, looking at the transition from primary school to one of the three main types of German secondary schools, using the data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) from the years 1984 to 2003. The analysis shows that a good income position fosters thetransition into the top level "Gymnasium", hinders the shift into the lowest level "Hauptschule", and has hardly any effect on the middle level "Realschule". However, the impact of income is relatively small compared to that of parental education. Income during early childhood has a stronger effect than income at the time of deciding on a school. It might be that a good economic position at earlier ages leads to an advantageous development. The study can not definitely confirm the claim made by educational choice theory, that costs really are important at this early point in the German educational system.

Suggested Citation

  • Thorsten Schneider, 2004. "Der Einfluss des Einkommens der Eltern auf die Schulwahl," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 446, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp446

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Jenkins, Stephen P. & Schluter, Christian, 2002. "The Effect of Family Income During Childhood on Later-Life Attainment: Evidence from Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 604, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.

    More about this item


    Choice; Stress theory; School tracking; Family income; Social origin;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution


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