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The Italian educational system: family background and social stratification

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  • Daniele Checchi

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Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniele Checchi, 2003. "The Italian educational system: family background and social stratification," Departmental Working Papers 2003-01, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:mil:wpdepa:2003-01
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    File URL: http://wp.demm.unimi.it/files/wp/2003/DEMM-2003_001wp.pdf
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    1. 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.
    2. Daniele Checchi & Giuseppe Bertola, 2001. "Sorting and private education in Italy," Departmental Working Papers 2001-21, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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 679-685, May.
    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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Massimiliano Bratti & Daniele Checchi & Guido de Blasio, 2008. "Does the Expansion of Higher Education Increase the Equality of Educational Opportunities? Evidence from Italy," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 22(s1), pages 53-88, June.
    2. Olga Demidova & Marcello Signorelli, 2012. "Determinants of youth unemployment in Russian regions," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(2), pages 191-217, January.
    3. Daniele Checchi & Luca Flabbi, 2013. "Intergenerational Mobility and Schooling Decisions in Germany and Italy: The Impact of Secondary School Tracks," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, issue 3, pages 7-57, July-Sept.
    4. Floro Ernesto Caroleo & Francesco Pastore, 2009. "Le cause del(l') (in)successo lavorativo dei giovani," Economia & lavoro, Carocci editore, issue 3, pages 107-107.
    5. Patrizia Ordine & Claudio Lupi, 2009. "Family Income and Students' Mobility," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 68(1), pages 1-23, April.
    6. Mauro Sylos Labini, 2004. "Social Networks and Wages: It's All About Connections!," LEM Papers Series 2004/10, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    7. Patrizia Ordine & Giuseppe Rose, 2011. "Educational Mismatch and Wait Unemployment," Working Papers 19, AlmaLaurea Inter-University Consortium.
    8. Stefania Gabriele & Fiorella Kostoris Padoa Schioppa, 2006. "Un’analisi economica della mobilità sociale in Italia," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 96(3), pages 47-111, May-June.
    9. Dario Sciulli & Marcello Signorelli, 2010. "University-to-work transitions: the case of Perugia," Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia, Finanza e Statistica 77/2010, Università di Perugia, Dipartimento Economia.

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