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Parental Background, Primary to Secondary School Transitions, and Wages

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  • Dustmann, Christian

    () (University College London)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Dustmann, Christian, 2001. "Parental Background, Primary to Secondary School Transitions, and Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 367, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp367
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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.
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    3. Donald Robertson & James Symons, 2003. "Do Peer Groups Matter? Peer Group versus Schooling Effects on Academic Attainment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(277), pages 31-53, February.
    4. Regina T. Riphahn, 2002. "Residential location and youth unemployment: The economic geography of school-to-work transitions," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 15(1), pages 115-135.
    5. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
    6. 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 352-352.
    7. 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.
    8. Feinstein, Leon & Symons, James, 1999. "Attainment in Secondary School," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 300-321, April.
    9. 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 1009-1018, December.
    10. 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 137-156, May.
    11. Steedman, Hilary, 1993. "The Economics of Youth Training in Germany," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(420), pages 1279-1291, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Wolter, Stefan C., 2003. "Sibling Rivalry: A Six Country Comparison," IZA Discussion Papers 734, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Jenkins, Stephen P. & Schluter, Christian, 2002. "The Effect of Family Income During Childhood on Later-Life Attainment: Evidence from Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 604, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Lorenzo Cappellari, 2004. "High school types, academic performance and early labour market outcomes," CHILD Working Papers wp03_04, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
    4. Colm Harmon, 2002. "Schooling returns, schooling decisions and educational finance," Open Access publications 10197/669, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    5. Dalit Contini & Andrea Scagni, 2011. "Inequality of opportunity in secondary school enrolment in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 441-464, February.
    6. Brunello, Giorgio & Checchi, Daniele, 2005. "School quality and family background in Italy," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 563-577, October.
    7. Lauer, Charlotte, 2002. "Family background, cohort and education: A French-German comparison," ZEW Discussion Papers 02-12, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    8. Michael Gebel & Friedhelm Pfeiffer, 2010. "Educational Expansion and Its Heterogeneous Returns for Wage Workers," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 130(1), pages 19-42.
    9. Paola Giuliano, 2008. "Culture and the Family: An Application to Educational Choices in Italy," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 98(4), pages 3-38, July-Augu.
    10. Wolter, Stefan C. & Coradi Vellacott, Maja, 2002. "Sibling Rivalry: A Look at Switzerland with PISA Data," IZA Discussion Papers 594, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Sylke Schnepf, 2002. "A Sorting Hat that Fails? The transition from primary to secondary school in Germany," Papers inwopa02/22, Innocenti Working Papers.
    12. Jakobsen, Vibeke & Smith, Nina, 2003. "The Educational Attainment of the Children of the Danish ‘Guest Worker’ Immigrants," IZA Discussion Papers 749, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    parental background; school transitions; Education;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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