The influence of parents’ social capital on their children’s transition to vocational training in Germany | Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung

Tobias Roth
The influence of parents’ social capital on their children’s transition to vocational training in Germany

Social Networks, 2018: 55, S. 74-85
ISSN: 0378-8733 (print + online)

This study investigates the up-to-now strongly underexplored role of parents’ social capital in the school-to-work transition of adolescents. We base our empirical analyses on unique longitudinal largescale data from the German National Educational Panel Study. Parents’ social capital is measured with a position generator. Results show that adolescents with lower secondary education have better chances of finding an apprenticeship in a company if their parents know many persons with lower-status occupations for which vocational training is sufficient. This is especially the case for parents’ social contacts that have occupations in which many adolescents with lower secondary education are being trained in a company. The contrary is true for adolescents whose parents know many persons with higher-status occupations. Parents’ social networks do not show any effects on the quality of these apprenticeships or on the probability of entering school-based vocational training. Overall, our results indicate that parents’ social networks are important for a smooth school-to-work transition of their children. Moreover, our analyses confirm the idea that social capital is goal and labour market segment specific.