Publication Types:

When and for Whom Does It Pay to Attend a Prestigious University? Social Origin, Elite Education and Graduates’ Career Trajectories

Working Paper
Markus Klein
LCC Working Paper Series. 2019-12. Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensland.
Publication year: 2019

The literature on social stratification has paid considerable attention to the question of whether and to what extent attending prestigious universities is advantageous for graduates’ labor market returns. This paper contributes to the literature by applying a more dynamic perspective in asking whether graduates from prestigious and less prestigious universities differ in their career progression across fourteen years since their labor market entry. It further investigates whether graduating from prestigious universities pays off more or less for graduates from different educational backgrounds. While the positive selection hypothesis suggests that students who are most likely to attend prestigious universities will benefit the most from it, it is students who are least likely to attend under the negative selection hypothesis. The empirical analysis draws on the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) following the lives of people born in England, Scotland, and Wales in a single week of 1970. To analyze differences in career progression between graduates from different institutions in a holistic way, I applied multilevel growth curve modeling. Results show that graduates from prestigious Russell Group universities have steeper growth curves in occupational prestige after the initial labor market entry than graduates from other institutions. However, graduates from other universities catch up with their peers in later career stages. The early Russell Group premium is higher for first-generation graduates than for graduates from high educational backgrounds providing evidence for the negative selection hypothesis.

The Social Stratification of Early TV Consumption and Children’s Cognitive, Language and Behavioral Development

Working Paper
Michael Kühhirt, Markus Klein
Life Course Centre Working Paper Series, 2018-06. Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensland
Publication year: 2018


The association between children’s TV consumption and their development is subject of
controversial scientific and public debate. Heavy TV consumption may be detrimental to
children as flashing lights, quick edits and scene changes are overstimulating to
developing brains. It may also involve less time children spent on more stimulating
activities and interactions with their parents. In the present analysis, we use data from
the 2004/5 birth cohort of the Growing Up in Scotland study and investigate the
relationship between weekly hours of TV consumption – measured at the ages 2 to 4 and
cumulatively – and children’s language, cognitive and behavioral outcomes at age 5. Our
analysis shows a gap in TV consumption by parental education that grows across early
childhood. However, we did not find any substantive association between TV consumption
and children’s inductive reasoning and expressive language ability. There were small
associations between TV consumption and conduct problems and prosocial behavior,
particularly for children with lower educated parents. Nonetheless, these results suggest
that the impact of TV consumption on children’s development is less pronounced than
often assumed.

Mechanisms for the Effect of Field of Study on the Transition from Higher Education to Work

Working Paper
Markus Klein
MZES Working Paper 130
Publication year: 2010


Several studies indicate a substantial impact of horizontal differentiations in higher education on
monetary and non-pecuniary labour market outcomes. This paper scrutinizes the underlying mechanisms
of this effect and addresses the question of why fields of study differ in early labour market returns.
According to the training costs model the field of study indicates different amounts of training
costs to employers. The higher the training costs, the more problematic the labour market integration
of graduates. The average expected training costs of a study program are determined by the level of
occupational specificity and the selective choice of the graduates. Specifically, ‘soft fields’ such as
humanities or social sciences are considered as less occupational specific and less academically challenging.
Besides, it is suggested that structural relations between fields and occupational characteristics
act as mediators for the effect of field of study on labour market returns. Using the German HIS
(Hochschul-Informations-System) Graduate Panel 1997 the results show that a lack of occupational
specificity is partly responsible for difficulties in labour market entry of graduates from ‘soft fields’,
whereas selectivity measures do not contribute to an explanation. By contrast, the type of final degree,
the public sector and the required expertise of a job strongly mediate field of study differences. This
emphasizes the substantial role of structural and institutionalized relations between education and the
labour market.