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The Italian educational system: family background and social stratification

  • Daniele Checchi

    ()

The paper is organised as follows. In section 2 we review existing empirical evidence over the lower educational attainment in Italy when compared to other major European countries. Our country is also characterised by low intergenerational mobility, even if recent cohorts face an improved situation. Section 3 discusses alternative explanations of this evidence, taking into account wrong expectations formation, low returns to education and low resources invested in education. These explanations are all disregarded for being unable to explain both low achievement and strong parental dependence. Section 4 provides new evidence on the intergenerational persistence in educational attainment, showing that family income is statistically irrelevant, whereas parental education matters in attending secondary school and university. However, most of the effect of parental education passes through the choice of secondary school (high school versus technical schools), a choice that in Italy is undertaken quite early (when the child is aged 13). Section 5 contains some concluding remarks and discuss some policy options.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2003-01.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2003
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Handle: RePEc:mil:wpdepa:2003-01
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  1. Smith, Richard J & Blundell, Richard W, 1986. "An Exogeneity Test for a Simultaneous Equation Tobit Model with an Application to Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 679-85, May.
  2. Bertola, Giuseppe & Checchi, Daniele, 2002. "Sorting and Private Education in Italy," CEPR Discussion Papers 3198, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Brunello, Giorgio & Miniaci, Raffaele, 1999. "The economic returns to schooling for Italian men. An evaluation based on instrumental variables1," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 509-519, November.
  4. Brunello, Giorgio & Lucifora, Claudio & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 2001. "The Wage Expectations of European College Students," CEPR Discussion Papers 2817, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Freeman, Richard B., 1987. "Demand for education," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 357-386 Elsevier.
  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.
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