Destination as a process: sibling similarity in entry into the labor market

Aleksi Karhula, University of Turku
Jani Erola, University of Turku
Marcel Raab, University of Mannheim
Anette E. Fasang, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

The effect of family background on educational and labor market outcomes is the most studied question in sociological research on intergenerational mobility. It has been shown that family background affects both educational and labor market outcomes. Furthermore the mediating effect of education on labor market outcomes has been studied and debated in detail. However, very few studies have covered the entire educational and labor market trajectories and even fewer have considered them from the intergenerational perspective. We show here that family background affects education and labor market statuses, observed not only as the outcomes at the selected time points, but also as the trajectories leading to these outcomes. We use Finnish register data from cohorts born in 1970 to 1980 to construct longitudinal educational and labor market trajectories in young adulthood for siblings and unrelated dyads (over 10,000 dyads). The labor market trajectories are analyzed from the age of 16 to 35 (years 1987 to 2010) using sequence analysis. The results show that the distances between siblings’ trajectories are clearly smaller than distances between unrelated persons. The difference is even more pronounced when comparing same sex siblings. In order to acquire more detailed understanding on the factors behind sibling similarity, we apply a quasi-experimental dyadic regression design to analyze which family background characteristics are associated with the similarity and show that around 20 percent of the association can be explained away with observed family background. We further analyze the sequences and show that certain trajectories are stronger associated with family background than others. Finally, we show that family background affects the trajectories strongly even, if the end outcomes are identical in the dyads, i.e. much of sibling similarity in trajectories remains hidden when looking only at outcomes at certain age.

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Presented in Session 25: Transition to adulthood