Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Nationaløkonomisk tidsskrift,
Nationaløkonomisk Forening

The Socio-Economic Gradient in Children’s Test-Scores – A Comparison Between the U.S. and Denmark

2019, Volume 2019, issue 1, pp. 25

Christopher Jamil de Montgomery () and Hans Henrik Sievertsen ()
Additional contact information
Christopher Jamil de Montgomery: University of Copenhagen, Postal: Danish Research Centre for Migration, Ethnicity and Health (MESU), University of Copenhagen
Hans Henrik Sievertsen: University of Bristol and VIVE, Postal: University of Bristol and VIVE – The Danish Center for Social Science Research

Abstract: This paper contributes to the debate on intergenerational mobility in the U.S. and Denmark by linking parental resources to differentials in cognitive development in primary school. Using U.S. survey data and Danish register data, we observe a socioeconomic gradient along the entire test score distribution in both countries, but the gradient is always largest in the U.S. Our findings show that a substantial socio-economic testscore gradient is present even in a Scandinavian welfare state. However, in light of the recent debate on similarities in intergenerational mobility between Denmark and the U.S., it is important to note that this socio-economic gradient is smaller in Denmark than the U.S.

Keywords: Test scores; intergenerational mobility; inequality; test score gap

JEL-codes: I24; I28; J24

Language: English

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