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The intergenerational transmission of educational attainment in East and West Germany


  • Riphahn, Regina T.
  • Trübswetter, Parvati

    () (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany])


"Socialist societies often emphasized the abolition of traditional social classes. To achieve this objective, educational opportunities were at times 'actively managed' and allocated to children of less educated parents. What happened to these patterns after the demise of socialist rule in Eastern Europe? We study the development of educational mobility after the fall of the iron curtain in East Germany and compare the relevance of parental educational background for secondary schooling outcomes in East and West Germany. Based on data from the German Mikrozensus we find that educational mobility is lower in East than in West Germany and that it has been falling in East Germany after unification. While the educational advantage of girls declined over time, having many siblings presents a more substantial disadvantage in East than in West Germany." (Author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en))

Suggested Citation

  • Riphahn, Regina T. & Trübswetter, Parvati, 2011. "The intergenerational transmission of educational attainment in East and West Germany," IAB Discussion Paper 201104, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  • Handle: RePEc:iab:iabdpa:201104

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Erik Plug & Wim Vijverberg, 2003. "Schooling, Family Background, and Adoption: Is It Nature or Is It Nurture?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(3), pages 611-641, June.
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    4. 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.
    5. Heineck Guido & Riphahn Regina T., 2009. "Intergenerational Transmission of Educational Attainment in Germany – The Last Five Decades," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 229(1), pages 36-60, February.
    6. Bauer, Philipp & Riphahn, Regina T., 2006. "Timing of school tracking as a determinant of intergenerational transmission of education," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 90-97, April.
    7. Christian Dustmann, 2004. "Parental background, secondary school track choice, and wages," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 209-230, April.
    8. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "Why the Apple Doesn't Fall Far: Understanding Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 437-449, March.
    9. Woessmann, Ludger, 2004. "How Equal Are Educational Opportunities? Family Background and Student Achievement in Europe and the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 1284, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Hertz, Tom & Meurs, Mieke & Selcuk, Sibel, 2009. "The Decline in Intergenerational Mobility in Post-Socialism: Evidence from the Bulgarian Case," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 739-752, March.
    11. Jennifer Hunt, 2006. "Staunching Emigration from East Germany: Age and the Determinants of Migration," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(5), pages 1014-1037, September.
    12. Mihails Hazans & Ija Trapeznikova & Olga Rastrigina, 2008. "Ethnic and parental effects on schooling outcomes before and during the transition: evidence from the Baltic countries," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(3), pages 719-749, July.
    13. Gabriela Schütz & Heinrich W. Ursprung & Ludger Wößmann, 2008. "Education Policy and Equality of Opportunity," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(2), pages 279-308, May.
    14. Julia Varga, 2006. "The Role of Labour Market Expectations and Admission Probabilities in Students' Application Decisions on Higher Education: The Case of Hungary," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(3), pages 309-327.
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    16. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Zabel, Cordula, 2011. "Lone mothers' participation in labor market programs for means-tested benefit recipients in Germany," IAB Discussion Paper 201114, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    2. Concetta Mendolicchio & Dimitri Paolini & Tito Pietra, 2014. "Income Taxes, Subsidies to Education, and Investments in Human Capital," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 16(1), pages 24-47, February.
    3. Sander Wagner, 2017. "Children of the Reunification: Gendered Effects on Intergenerational Mobility in Germany," Working Papers 2017-03, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    4. Drasch, Katrin, 2011. "Do changing institutional settings matter? : educational attainment and family related employment interruptions in Germany," IAB Discussion Paper 201113, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    5. Regina T. Riphahn & Parvati Trübswetter, 2011. "Die Veränderung der Bildungsmobilität in Ost- und Westdeutschland nach der Wiedervereinigung," ifo Dresden berichtet, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 18(06), pages 7-13, December.

    More about this item


    Bildungsmobilität; Intergenerationsmobilität; Eltern; Kinder; Qualifikationsniveau; Schullaufbahnwahl; Gymnasium; Ostdeutschland; Westdeutschland; Bundesrepublik Deutschland;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts

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