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Intergenerational Mobility and Schooling Decisions in Germany and Italy: the Impact of Secondary School Tracks

Intergenerational mobility in income and education is affected by the influence of parents on children's school choices. Our focus is on the role played by different school systems in reducing or magnifying the impact of parents on children's school choices and therefore on intergenerational mobility in general. We compare two apparently similar educational systems, Italy and Germany, to see how the common feature of separate tracks at Secondary School level may produce different impacts on children choices. Using data from a cross-country survey (PISA 2003), we study the impact of parental education on track choice, showing that the greater flexibility of the Italian system (where parents are free to choose the type of track) translates into greater dependence from parental background. These effects are reinforced when moving to post-secondary education, where the aspiration to go to college is affected not only by the school type but also (in the case of Italy only) by parental education. We then move to country-specific data sets (ISTAT 2001 for Italy and GSOEP 2001 and 2002 for Germany) to study the impact of family background on post-secondary school choices: we find this impact is greatly reduced when we control for secondary school tracks. Overall, we estimate large asymmetries by gender, with women's behavior more independent from family backgrounds than men's behavior.

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Paper provided by Georgetown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number gueconwpa~07-07-08.

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Date of creation: 08 Jul 2007
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Handle: RePEc:geo:guwopa:gueconwpa~07-07-08
Contact details of provider: Postal: Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
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Fax: 202-687-6102
Web page: http://econ.georgetown.edu/
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Order Information: Postal: Roger Lagunoff Professor of Economics Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
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  1. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2005. "Does Educational Tracking Affect Performance and Inequality? Differences-in-Differences Evidence across Countries," NBER Working Papers 11124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521827607 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Sylke Schnepf, 2002. "A Sorting Hat that Fails? The transition from primary to secondary school in Germany," Papers inwopa02/22, Innocenti Working Papers.
  4. 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.
  5. Dardanoni Valentino, 1993. "Measuring Social Mobility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 372-394, December.
  6. Daron Acemoglu & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 2001. "Changes in the wage structure, family income, and children's education," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2471, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
  8. Stephen V. Cameron & Christopher Taber, 2004. "Estimation of Educational Borrowing Constraints Using Returns to Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 132-182, February.
  9. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance John & Masterov, Dimitriy V., 2005. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 1675, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Hausman, Jerry & McFadden, Daniel, 1984. "Specification Tests for the Multinomial Logit Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(5), pages 1219-40, September.
  11. Daniele Checchi, 1997. "Education and Intergenerational Mobility in Occupations," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 66(1), pages 136-144.
  12. Corak, Miles, 2006. "Do Poor Children Become Poor Adults? Lessons from a Cross Country Comparison of Generational Earnings Mobility," IZA Discussion Papers 1993, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Dynamics of Educational Attainment for Black, Hispanic, and White Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 455-499, June.
  14. Simona Comi, 2004. "Intergenerational mobility in Europe: evidence from ECHP," CHILD Working Papers wp18_04, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  15. Casey B. Mulligan, 1999. "Galton versus the Human Capital Approach to Inheritance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S184-S224, December.
  16. Altonji, Joseph G. & Blank, Rebecca M., 1999. "Race and gender in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 48, pages 3143-3259 Elsevier.
  17. Brunello, Giorgio & Checchi, Daniele, 2006. "Does School Tracking Affect Equality of Opportunity? New International Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 2348, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Luca Flabbi, 2001. "La scelta della scuola secondaria in Italia," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 91(6), pages 85-114, July-Augu.
  19. McFadden, Daniel, 1987. "Regression-based specification tests for the multinomial logit model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 63-82.
  20. Ariga, Kenn & Brunello, Giorgio, 2007. "Does Secondary School Tracking Affect Performance? Evidence from IALS," IZA Discussion Papers 2643, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  21. John Shea, 1997. "Does Parents' Money Matter?," NBER Working Papers 6026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Daniele Checchi, 2003. "The Italian educational system: family background and social stratification," Departmental Working Papers 2003-01, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
  23. Christian Dustmann, 2004. "Parental background, secondary school track choice, and wages," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 209-230, April.
  24. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 2001. "The Effect of Parental Transfers and Borrowing Constraints on Educational Attainment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1051-1103, November.
  25. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts," NBER Working Papers 6385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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