Research in progress

Inequality at the top. The gender wage gap among the Italian educational elites (with M Triventi) – WP

Read more Does a gender earnings gap exist at the top of the educational distribution? Based on population data on two recent cohorts of PhD graduates in Italy, we find that women’s monthly earnings are on average 16% lower than men’s after 5–6 years in the labor market. The gender earnings gap is even wider at the bottom and top of the earnings distribution, reaching approximately 22% and 19%, respectively. Educational pathways before and during PhD studies, occupational characteristics, and family situation explain almost half of women’s average penalty and working hours alone one-fifth of it. The strongest penalties at the bottom and top of the earnings distribution remain largely unexplained.

Learning in school or because of school? The causal effect of early schooling on the migrant-native gap in achievement (with J Skopek) - WP

Read more Are schools engines of integration? Our study examines the learning outcomes of first-grade students from immigrant versus native families in Germany. We use a differential exposure approach to decompose learning over the school year into two causally distinct components: learning by exposure to schooling (school factors) a vis learning by being older at test (non-school factors). Data came from the nationally representative National Educational Panel Study. Our results demonstrate the importance of school exposure for learning but indicate no support for the idea that schools reduce migration-related inequality in achievements. Children from non-western immigrants, who experiences the largest penalties, progress in learning at lower rates compared to other immigrant groups. Non-westerners’ decelerated learning is entirely explained by the low benefits of schooling. We conclude that German primary schools do not work as engines of integration because immigrant groups with the largest educational disadvantage benefit the least from school exposure.

Do children of immigrants catch up in school? Longitudinal evidence from the UK, the Netherlands and Germany (with T van Huizen and J Skopek) - on request

Read more This paper studies the development of language achievement of children with immigrant parents in comparison to those with native-born parents from preschool to end of primary school. We use longitudinal data from the UK, Germany and the Netherlands and apply instrumental variable estimation to address measurement error in test scores. Our findings show that second-generation migrant children are at significant disadvantage before the start of school but on average catch up during primary schooling. In all three countries, we found no additional migration penalties over the school years when comparing children with immigrant and native-born parents who had the same language achievement at preschool age. In the UK, significant additional premiums are found and children with foreign-born parents outperform children with native-born parents with comparable language skills in preschool. However, the results show substantial heterogeneity by ethnicity and country of origin. Children with Turkish parents are the only migrant group that does not show any sign of catching up but rather experiences additional penalties in achievement during primary schooling.

Union dissolution and children’s educational achievement: Decomposing effects of school and non-school environments (with P Fallesen and S Skovgaard Jensen) – WP

Read more We study whether the educational disadvantage of children from households where parents have dissolved their union is due to initial selection, less return to learning from time in school, or less return to learning from time spent in non-school environments. Using a differential exposure approach, we conceptualize and identify children’s learning as a function of joint exposure to school and non-school environments. We use test scores from biannual nationwide reading comprehension tests of all Danish public-school children including information on test date and yearly information on parental separation. We consistently find lower returns to exposure to non-school environment for children who have experienced union dissolution across grades. Parental union dissolution functions as a dosage treatment. Placebo regressions and dosage treatment models make plausible a causal interpretation of the findings. Results indicate that degrading non-school environment following parental union dissolution decreases children’s learning, thereby increasing inequality in educational achievement across family forms.

Intragenerational wage mobility and the social disadvantage: A comparative study in West Germany and the United States (with R Grotti) – WP

Read more This article studies wage mobility over the early career in West Germany and the United States. We examine (1) the extent of intragenerational wage fluctuations; (2) whether they structure into upward mobility trends or remains volatile variations; and (3) whether mobility trends align with classical stratification dimensions (gender, social origin, and education). We highlight three main findings. First, intragenerational wage fluctuations are stronger in the United States compared with West Germany. Second, wage fluctuations translate into steeper trends of upward mobility in West Germany compared with the United States, where there is stronger heterogeneity in wage trends across individuals and year-to-year volatility. Last, we find persistent intragenerational wage inequality by gender, social origin, and education. These results point toward the idea that higher wage fluctuations in the United States do not reflect opportunities for upward mobility but rather uncertainty around the prospects of wage progression.

Schooling and achievement inequality in the U.S. – Revisiting the ‘equalizer’ hypothesis with the differential exposure approach (with J Skopek and J Workman) – drafting

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Die hard. The direct effect of social origin on occupational attainment among PhDs (with F Bernardi) – drafting

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Does family socioeconomic status compensate for an early entry into school life? Evidence from Germany (with M Espadafor) - drafting

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Parental unemployment dynamics and migrants’ educational disadvantage: The Swedish case (with R Grotti and S Aradhya) - drafting

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