The Myth of Equal Opportunity in Germany? Wage Inequality and the Role of (Non-)academic Family Background for Differences in Capital Endowments and Returns on the Labour Market
Valentina S. Consiglio () and
Denisa M. Sologon ()
Additional contact information
Valentina S. Consiglio: Bertelsmann Stiftung
Denisa M. Sologon: Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER)
Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, 2022, vol. 159, issue 2, No 2, 455-493
Abstract While providing equal opportunities to all members of society independent of an individual’s socio-economic background is a major objective of German policy makers, educational opportunities of children with a non-academic family background are still unequally obstructed. When analysing the labour market implications of this disadvantage, social capital as an additional source of inequality often lacks attention. Drawing on the instrumental value of rather loose contacts (i.e. weak ties) on the labour market as revealed by Granovetter (Getting a job. A study of contacts and careers, The University of Chicago Press, Cambridge, 1974), this paper goes beyond the human capital approach and includes a measure of instrumental social capital in the form of weak-tie career support in the earnings function. Applying an Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition and quantile regressions, we find a significant average wage gap between those with and without an academic family background. A large part can be explained by deficits that those from less educated families incur with respect to human and instrumental social capital: Lower educational attainment accounts for more than half of the wage gap between the two groups while fewer career support explains around five percent of the differential. Additionally, a non-academic family background is associated with a significant deficit in returns to their instrumental social capital along the wage distribution. The findings therefore suggest that inequalities of opportunity on the German labour market occur beyond the education system, as not only the quantity but also the quality of career supporting networks of those from a non-academic family are inferior.
Keywords: Wage gap; Inequality; Social capital; Decomposition; Quantile regression; SOEP (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I24 J31 J62 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s11205-021-02719-2 Abstract (text/html)
Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:spr:soinre:v:159:y:2022:i:2:d:10.1007_s11205-021-02719-2
Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
Access Statistics for this article
Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement is currently edited by Filomena Maggino
More articles in Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement from Springer
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Sonal Shukla () and Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing ().