The Structure, Causes, and Consequences of Tracking in the Danish Education System

Authors: Jesper Fels Birkelund, Kristian Bernt Karlson, David Reimer,
Series: Issue: 10 2019
Themes: , ,
Download Publication (PDF)

This report provides an overview over the institutional configuration of the Danish educational system and its development over time with a focus
on inequalities in educational attainment. We draw on population data from Danish administrative registers and we describe the development of
educational attainment including track choices and field of study specializations for individuals born from 1960-1986. This cohort range
was chosen in light of relevant institutional reforms of the Danish school system that led to changes in between- or within-school tracking.
However, the bulk of our analyses that provide a detailed picture of tracking and tracking consequences, are based on the 1975 cohort. The
first chapter provides a description of the basic structure of the Danish educational system and highlights some of the major educational reforms.
In chapter two, we follow the historical development of educational attainment. Chapter three describes the flow of individuals (born in 1975)
through the educational system. Chapter four analyses the long-term consequences associated with track choices. Finally, in chapter five some
basic decomposition analyses are presented that help us to explain to what extent the association between social origin and the attainment tertiary degrees or labor market outcomes is mediated by prior track choices.