Hildegard Brauns, Susanne Steinmann, Annick Kieffer, Catherine Marry
Does Education matter? France and Germany in Comparative Perspective
The paper builds on a French-German comparison on how individuals education and their social class position are related to each other. Labour force surveys from the early 1970s and 1990s are used as the empirical basis. We analyze patterns of occupational stratification by education from three perspectives: change over time in each country, cross-national similarities and differences at the two historical periods, and gender-specific variation. Focussing on the historical perspective, our analyses reveal partly substantial changes in each nations pattern of occupational stratification by education. From the cross-national perspective, we observe France and Germany as countries where relatively strong education effects prevail compared to other countries. Despite a slight trend of convergence in some aspects over time, the exact patterns of occupational stratification by education, however, vary. They are highly structured by institutional arrangements of the respective educational and employment settings. Due to gender-specific variation in the returns to education in the early 1970s, especially in Germany, we find the same pattern of cross-national dissimilarities in the link between education and social class position for women as for men only in the early 1990s.