Der Einfluss des Einkommens der Eltern auf die Schulwahl
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.
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