Nicole Tieben
Parental Resources and Relative Risk Aversion in Intra-secondary Transitions: A Trend Analysis of Non-standard Educational Decision Situations in the Netherlands

European Sociological Review, 2011: 27, issue 1, pp. 31-42

The theory of rational educational decisions assumes that parental resources as well as status maintenance motives are relevant for educational decisions. A large body of previous research examines these mechanisms for standard educational decisions at the conventional transition points. There is reason to assume, however, that the same decision parameters affect non-standard educational transitions as well. Secondary education in the Netherlands is divided into four hierarchical tracks and students are allocated to one of these tracks at the age of 12 years. In the Dutch educational system upward and downward intra-secondary transitions between the different tracks are possible during secondary education. The analyses of this article show that upward mobility to a large extent is driven by status maintenance motives but that downward track mobility is not influenced by parental background when initial track placement is taken into account. While effects of parental resources decrease, the status maintenance motive does not change in relevance over time.