Jesper Fels Birkelund

Upper secondary school tracking, labour market outcomes and intergenerational inequality in Denmark 

This paper is a comprehensive analysis of how secondary school education of Danish children affects their early job and earning prospects. Using administrative data on more than 50,000 children born in Denmark in 1986,  the researchers looked at whether young people were placed on an academic or vocational track at school and the sort of … Read more

Educational tracking and long-term outcomes by social origin: Seven countries in comparison

This paper uses longitudinal data from seven countries to assess how systems of educational tracking can impact on social mobility. Studies which simply compare comprehensive and tracked systems may be flawed, the research suggests, because of differences in how countries separate students for instructional purposes. The researchers used large-scale longitudinal data from Denmark, England, Finland, … Read more

Sources of change in the primary and secondary effects of social class origin on educational decisions: evidence from Denmark, 2002–2016

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Issue: 2020
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It is well-known that pupils from poorer backgrounds are more likely than their peers to take vocational rather than academic routes in upper secondary school – but what drives this? Does social class status itself lead to these decisions, or is there a mediating factor at play: that pupils from less well-off homes tend to … Read more

Family Background, Educational Qualifications and Meritocratic Labor Market Allocation: Evidence from Danish Siblings

This paper looks at how education and family background shapes the occupation and earnings of a generation of Danes, and concludes that education plays a powerful role in explaining why children from advantaged backgrounds have higher earnings than chil-dren from disadvantaged backgrounds. The researchers studied all children born in Denmark between 1965 and 1971 and … Read more

Aiming High and Missing the Mark? Educational Choice, Dropout Risk, and Achievement in Upper Secondary Education among Children of Immigrants in Denmark

This paper finds that high aspiration among young people from ethnic minority backgrounds can be a double-edged sword: it helps close the gap between these young people and their native-origin peers, but at the cost of higher drop-out rates. The research looks at the choices made by Danish youngsters at the age of 16, when … Read more

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

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 … Read more