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Does Tracking Shape the Intergenerational Transmission of Educational Attainment? Evidence from Switzerland


  • Jean Marc Falter

    (LH-EDUCEC-UNIGE - Leading House in Economics of Education - University of Geneva [Switzerland])

  • Florian Wendelspiess Chávez Juárez

    (LH-EDUCEC-UNIGE - Leading House in Economics of Education - University of Geneva [Switzerland])

  • Giovanni Ferro-Luzzi

    () (SRED - Service de recherche en éducation - Département de l'instruction publique, de la culture et du sport du canton de Genève)


The Swiss schooling system is characterized by early tracking of pupils into di erent types of education, which suggests that the impact of parental background may a ect transitions at a relatively young age which condition the future transitions of their children as well as their nal educational attainment. In this study, we investigate the impact of family background variables on schooling outcomes at upper secondary level by means of a two-stage estimation model. Our empirical speci cation enables us to take into account the cumulative impact of parental variables on tracking and on upper secondary school achievement. As expected, favourable family background attributes are positively correlated with school outcomes at all stages but we show that parental e ects remain important at higher grade levels, even with early selection through tracking and after controlling for cognitive ability. These ndings are especially relevant for girls and should help policymakers in designing equal opportunity tracking schemes, especially at young ages.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean Marc Falter & Florian Wendelspiess Chávez Juárez & Giovanni Ferro-Luzzi, 2012. "Does Tracking Shape the Intergenerational Transmission of Educational Attainment? Evidence from Switzerland," Working Papers halshs-00771941, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00771941
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gabriela Schütz & Heinrich W. Ursprung & Ludger Wößmann, 2008. "Education Policy and Equality of Opportunity," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(2), pages 279-308, May.
    2. 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.
    3. Jean-Marc Falter & Giovanni Ferro Luzzi & Federica Sbergami, 2011. "The Effect of Parental Background on Track Choices and Wages," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 147(II), pages 157-180, June.
    4. Sen, Anindya & Clemente, Anthony, 2010. "Intergenerational correlations in educational attainment: Birth order and family size effects using Canadian data," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 147-155, February.
    5. Philipp Bauer & Regina Riphahn, 2007. "Heterogeneity in the intergenerational transmission of educational attainment: evidence from Switzerland on natives and second-generation immigrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 20(1), pages 121-148, February.
    6. Alejandra Cattaneo & Sandra Hanslin & Rainer Winkelmann, 2007. "The Apple Falls Increasingly Far: Parent-Child Correlation in Schooling and the Growth of Post-Secondary Education in Switzerland," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 143(II), pages 133-153, June.
    7. Kathrin Bertschy & M. Alejandra Cattaneo & Stefan C. Wolter, 2009. "PISA and the Transition into the Labour Market," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 23(s1), pages 111-137, March.
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