LIFETRACK Publications

Social origins, track choices and labour-market outcomes: evidence from the French case

This paper examines the consequences of following an academic versus vocational path in upper secondary school in France in terms of job attainment and earnings at the entrance into the labour market. Using rich nationally representative longitudinal data running from the beginning of secondary education until entrance into the labour market, the researchers identify the … Read more

Formal differentiation at upper secondary education in Finland: subject-level choices and stratified pathways to socio-economic status and unemployment

This paper looks at how Finnish students’ track placement at upper secondary school is associated with their later-life socio-economic status and probability of unemployment using high-quality full population register data. The study finds that choosing advanced maths – in a system where students are given the freedom to make their own subject-level decisions – leads … Read more

Does tracking really affect labour-market outcomes in the long run? Estimating the long-term effects of secondary-school tracking in West Germany

This paper investigates to what extent track attendance in secondary education affects labour-market prospects of West German individuals with similar starting conditions. The article also focuses on whether track attendance has a role in widening social inequality. Using pooled data from two panel studies on West Germans born between 1964 and 1986, the researchers investigate … Read more

Tracking in Israeli high schools: social inequality after 50 years of educational reforms

This paper looks at how the Israeli system of sorting children into one of five programmes for their upper secondary school education affects their higher education attainment and earning prospects in their early thirties. The research is set in the context of three major programmes of education reform that have taken place in Israel since … Read more

The early labour-market returns to upper secondary qualifications track in England

This paper examines if people who followed the academic track (A-levels) rather than the vocational track (NVQs) in upper secondary education in England show differentiated occupational level and disposable income by age 25. The authors consider England as an interesting country case because students are ‘free to choose’ which upper secondary track they follow, unlike … Read more

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

Compensatory and multiplicative advantages: Social origin, school performance, and stratified higher education enrolment in Finland

This research finds that even in Finland, enrolling in higher education depends on students’ school performance and their parents’ education. The study uses register data from Finland, where students take entrance exams for higher education and where the education system involves both universities and polytechnics, to look at how social origin and school performance is … Read more

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

Authors: Jesper Fels Birkelund,
Issue: 2020
Themes: ,

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