DP16355 Social Mobility in Germany

Author(s): Majed Dodin, Sebastian Findeisen, Lukas Henkel, Dominik Sachs, Paul Schuele
Publication Date: July 2021
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Programme Areas: Labour Economics, Public Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16355

We characterize intergenerational social mobility in Germany using census data on the educational attainment of 526,000 children and their parents' earnings. Our measure of educational attainment is the A-Level degree, a requirement for access to university and the most important qualification in the German education system. On average, a 10 percentile increase in the parental income rank is associated with a 5.2 percentage point increase in the probability to obtain an A-Level. This parental income gradient has not changed for the birth cohorts from 1980 to 1996, despite a large-scale policy of expanding upper secondary education in Germany. At the regional level, there exists substantial variation in mobility estimates. Place effects, rather than sorting of households into different regions, seem to account for most of these geographical differences. Mobile regions are, among other aspects, characterized by high school quality and enhanced possibilities to obtain an A-Level degree in vocational schools.