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Education and mobility

Waldinger, Fabian (2008) Education and mobility. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis analyses interconnections between educational policies and different aspects of mobility. In the first chapter I use the dismissal of scientists in Nazi Germany to analyse peer effects among university scientists. The usual problems related to estimating peer effects are addressed by using the dismissal of researchers by the Nazi government as a source of exogenous variation in the scientists' peer group. Using a dataset of all physicists, chemists, and mathematicians at all German universities from 1925 until 1938 I investigate spillovers at different levels of peer interactions. There is no evidence for peer effects at the department level or the specialization level. I find, however, that peer quality matters for coauthors. Losing a coauthor of average quality reduces the productivity of a scientist by about 12.5 percent in physics and 16.5 percent in chemistry. The second chapter analyses the effect of studying abroad on international labour market mobility later in life. I have collaborated with Matthias Parey for this research project. We exploit the introduction of the ERASMUS student exchange programme as a source of exogenous variation in student mobility. Our results indicate that student exchange mobility is an important determinant of international labour market mobility: Studying abroad increases an individual's probability of working in a foreign country by about 15 to 20 percentage points. We investigate heterogeneity in returns and find that studying abroad has a stronger effect for credit constrained students. The last chapter of the thesis investigates the effect of school tracking on social mobility of students. In particular I investigate whether ability tracking exacerbates the role of parental background for students' educational achievement. Using microdata from different educational studies I exploit cross-country variation in tracking policies to identify the effect of tracking. Controlling for unobserved country level variables using difference-in-differences, I find no increase in the importance of a student's family background after tracking has taken place. This result runs contrary to the findings of the current literature. I show that the results of the existing literature are not robust to slight changes in specification.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Education, Sociology of, Education, Policy
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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