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URPP Equality of Opportunity

Mapping schools' impact on inequality

Schools are key institutions that prepare citizens for the labor market and participation in society more generally. Despite their central role in society, we however lack systematic evidence on how different schools differentially shape earnings inequality, gender differences in study and career choices, and the intergenerational transmission of economic disadvantage. In this subproject, we study these issues using a new source of Swiss administrative data that links education records to social security information. This data source, the “Längsschnittanalysen im Bildungsbereich” (LABB), allows to follow the life trajectories of individuals as they progress through the school system and subsequently through the labor market. It will help us to quantify the long-term effects associated with attending specific schools. Drawing on this unique data, we will investigate to what extent inequality in adulthood is related to the different schools that individuals attended during childhood and adolescence. We will document how much schools contribute to (i) earnings inequality, (ii) gender inequality in education and the labor market and (iii) to the intergenerational transmission of disadvantage. To measure schools’ contributions to these outcomes, we will estimate school value-added models. By comparing such estimates across time periods, we can document how schools’ impact on inequality has changed over time.


Prof. Ulf Zölitz, Department of Economics

Prof. Ulf Zölitz
Project Leader
Department of Economics

Data used

Data used: “Längsschnittanalysen im Bildungsbereich” (LABB), Bundesamt für Statistik (BFS); Federal Statistical

For further information about the project and data availability please