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Skill Premia and Intergenerational Skill Transmission

Working Paper 2013-285

Abstract

In the case of France, we analyse the changes (i) in the skill premium linked to each level of education and (ii) in the impact of parents’ skill and income upon the educational attainment of their children. To this end, we build a theoretical model which is subsequently estimated. Our calculations firstly reveal (i) a critical decline in the skill premium of the Baccalaureate in relation to the lowest skill level, and (ii) an increase in the skill premia of higher education in relation to the Baccalaureate, which however is not large enough to avoid the decrease in all the skill premia relative to the lowest skill. Secondly, we find (i) a significant increase in the impact of the family backgrounds upon the individuals’ education from 1993 to 2003 which essentially derives from a higher impact of parental income upon the educational attainment, and (ii) an increase in the impact of public expenditure upon education. Consequently, if inequality has decreased among the employed population, the slowdown in intergenerational mobility could reverse this tendency in the longer term. This may however be offset by higher public educational expenditure.

Authors: B. Ben Halima, N. Chusseau, J. Hellier.

Keywords: Family backgrounds, intergenerational mobility, return to education, skill premium
JEL: I2, J24, J31.