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Parental Background, Primary to Secondary School Transitions, and Wages

  • Dustmann, Christian

    ()

    (University College London)

The degree to which economic status is transmitted from one generation to the next is an important indicator for the inequality of opportunities. One crucial element of intergenerational mobility is the way parents influence the education of their children. Unlike in the UK or in the US, in Germany an important decision about which educational track to follow is made at a relatively early stage: after primary school, at around the age of ten. In this paper, we use micro data to analyse the association between parents’ education and professional class and secondary track school choice and subsequent career prospects of the child. Our analysis covers the last 6 decades. We demonstrate that parents’ educational background and professional class are strongly related to the secondary track school the child follows, and subsequent educational achievements. We find a slight convergence for individuals from different parental background over the last decades. We also find convergence between males and females. The relationship between parental class and children’s education translates into earnings differentials later in life.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 367.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2001
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Oxford Economic Papers, 2004, 56 (2), 209-230
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp367
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  1. Lorraine Dearden & Steve Machin & Howard Reed, 1995. "Intergenerational mobility in Britain," IFS Working Papers W95/20, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
  3. Donald Robertson & James Symons, 1996. "Do peer Groups Matter? Peer Groups versus Schooling Effects on Academic Attainment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0311, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
  5. Bjorklund, Anders & Jantti, Markus, 1997. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in Sweden Compared to the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 1009-18, December.
  6. Rainer Winkelmann, 1996. "Employment prospects and skill acquisition of apprenticeship-trained workers in Germany," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 49(4), pages 658-672, July.
  7. Steedman, Hilary, 1993. "The Economics of Youth Training in Germany," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(420), pages 1279-91, September.
  8. Ermisch, John & Francesconi, Marco, 2001. "Family Matters: Impacts of Family Background on Educational Attainments," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(270), pages 137-56, May.
  9. Feinstein, Leon & Symons, James, 1999. "Attainment in Secondary School," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 300-321, April.
  10. Kenneth A. Couch & Thomas A. Dunn, 1995. "Intergenerational Correlations in Labor Market Status: A Comparison of the United States and Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 111, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  11. Merz, M. & Schimmelpfenning, A., 1999. "Career Choices of German High School Graduates: Evidence from the German Socio-Economic Panel," Economics Working Papers eco99/11, European University Institute.
  12. Regina T. Riphahn, 2002. "Residential location and youth unemployment: The economic geography of school-to-work transitions," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 115-135.
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