Intergenerational transmission of disadvantages in EU Member States




Zaidi, A. & Zólyomi, E. (2007). Intergenerational Transmission of Disadvantages in EU Member States. Policy Brief 6/2007. Vienna: European Centre.


This policy brief reports on our research for EU member countries on the transmission of advantages and disadvantages between generations. This comparative study has become possible because the 2005 EU-SILC has included one special data module, including the data for attributes of each respondent's parents during his/her childhood period at the age 14-16. The central tenet is that the disadvantages faced by parents adversely affect their children's chances of success, and whether public policies could possibly ameliorate such effects. We find that, in the majority of countries, all those whose parents had a low education have a much higher risk of belonging to the group of people with low education. Father's low educational status is particularly linked with the low educational outcomes of females and also with those aged 25-34. The same pattern is observed when we examine the link with the education of the mother, although the effect is somewhat smaller. With respect to the linkage with the occupational status of fathers, we also find clear evidence of occupational rigidity. The policy interventions to improve outcomes during childhood are identified as most pertinent in breaking such a cycle of disadvantages across generations.