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What are the longrun implications of elite universities for individuals and society? In this video, KATJA KAUFMANN explores the effects of elite higher education on both marriage and intergenerational outcomes. Employing a regression discontinuity design and an unique data set collected and digitized from Chilean archives and matched with information from the Chilean Ministry of Justice, Kaufmann identifies significant advantages for women in terms of marriage market outcomes (test scores, elite university attendance, family background of husband) as a result of attending an elite university. Furthermore, attendance at such an institution is shown to have clear intergenerational effects, resulting in children performing better in standardized tests. With important implications for educational policy, the research presents important insights for debates around social stratification, social mobility and inequality.


Katja Kaufmann, professor of Applied Microeconomics at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, received her doctoral degree from Stanford University. Upon completion of her doctorate, she worked as assistant professor at Bocconi University (Italy) and at Mannheim University. Katja Kaufmann was a visiting scholar at briq (Bonn), CESifo, the Harvard Kennedy School, LMU, Princeton and Yale University. She is a research fellow at briq, CESifo, HCEO, EUDN, IZA and member of the Verein für Socialpolitik. Her work has received international awards, including the CESifo affiliate award, and she acquired third-party funding from the elite program of the Baden-Wuerttemberg Foundation and as one of the PIs of the Collaborative Research Center Transregio (SFB-TR 224) of Bonn and Mannheim University. Her research was published in internationally renowned scientific journals such as the American Economic Review, the Economic Journal, the Journal of the European Economic Association, the Journal of Development Economics and Quantitative Economics and three of her recent papers have been discussed in The Economist article of May 9th 2019.


Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz)

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) is committed to the spirit of its namesake in promoting innovative ideas, in inspiring people, and in using knowledge to transcend boundaries. With more than 31,000 students, JGU is one of the largest universities in Germany. As a comprehensive university, it embraces almost all academic disciplines and also maintains a Medical Center. At JGU, some 4,150 academics, among them 540 professors, research and teach at more than 150 departments, institutes, and clinics. Furthermore, the integration of two art schools is unique in the German higher education sector. Mainz University is an internationally recognized research university. It owes its reputation to its outstanding researchers and their excellent achievements in particle and hadron physics, materials sciences, translational medicine, life sciences, and historical cultural studies. The university's PRISMA + Cluster of Excellence, where primarily particle and hadron physicists collaborate, is at the cutting edge of international research.
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Original publication

Elite Higher Education, the Marriage Market and the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital

Kaufmann Katja M., Messner Matthias and Solis Alex
Published in 2021

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