Societal Change and Educational Trajectories of Women and Men Born between 1919 and 1986 in (West) Germany

Becker, Rolf; Mayer, Karl Ulrich (2019). Societal Change and Educational Trajectories of Women and Men Born between 1919 and 1986 in (West) Germany. European sociological review, 35(2), pp. 147-168. Oxford University Press 10.1093/esr/jcy052

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The aim of this study is to unravel the impact of societal change in Germany on educational attainment and its social disparities for cohorts born between 1919 and 1986. Therefore, we analyse whether modernisation trends have modified access to and success in general, vocational and higher education for consecutive birth cohorts. In order to explain how these processes have had an effect on class differentials in educational attainment, we assume that the interplay of the changing occupational structure at the macro level and intergenerational status maintenance via investment in the education of offspring is – among other influences – the key mechanism for long-term educational expansion and for decreasing inequalities of opportunity in the educational system. The empirical bases of our investigation are clusters of time series for macro changes and retrospective individual data for 11 birth cohorts from the German Life History Study and the National Educational Panel Study for educational outcomes. We apply piecewise exponential event-history models to analyse the direct and indirect impacts of societal change on educational trajectories and social disparities in educational attainment. The results provide an understanding of historical variations in educational transitions and attainment associated with modernisation in the social, political, economic, and cultural spheres.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Education > Sociology of Education

UniBE Contributor:

Becker, Rolf


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 370 Education
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




Oxford University Press




Rolf Becker

Date Deposited:

28 Mar 2019 09:59

Last Modified:

24 Oct 2019 09:12

Publisher DOI:





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