Monday, February 15, 2010

A Family Affair: Intergenerational Social Mobility

Another interesting OECD report examines social mobility. Some of the conclusions:

Across European OECD countries, there is a substantial wage premium associated with growing up in a better-educated family, and a corresponding penalty with growing up in a less-educated family. The premium and penalty are particularly large in southern European countries, as well as in the United Kingdom. The penalty is also high in Luxembourg and Ireland. In these countries the wage premium is more than 20%, while the penalty is some 16% or more (relative to wages earned by individuals raised in a family with average education).

Education policies play a key role in explaining observed differences in intergenerational social mobility across countries. For example, higher enrolment in early childhood education is associated with a lower influence of parental background on students’ achievement in secondary education. By contrast, school practices that group students into different curricula at early ages come with less social mobility in educational achievement. Moreover, increasing the social mix within schools appears to boost performance of disadvantaged students without any apparent negative effects on overall performance.

Redistributive and income support policies seem to be associated with greater intergenerational social mobility.

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