SOEP awards

VdF: Best Presentation Prize 2010

Best Presentation Prizes 2010

Prize committee

  • Annette Jäckle (University of Essex)
  • Katrin Leutze (WZB)
  • Michaela Riediger (MPIB)
  • Thomas Siedler (DIW Berlin)
  • Ingrid Tucci (DIW Berlin)
  • Arne Uhlendorff (University of Mannheim)

Honored papers

Johannes Uhlig, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB): "Underachievement: Do Teachers' and Parents' Decisions Conceal Young People's Learning Potentials?" (first prize)

Committee comments: This paper looks at transitions from primary to secondary schools with a focus on teachers' recommendations. Using the concept of underachievement, Johannes Uhlig uses an innovative approach to examine social selectivity in educational attainment: children with the same cognitive learning potentials have lower chances of entering the highest school track if they come from a lower socio-economic background. This process is driven by social bias in teachers' recommendations as well as in parental decisions. The paper is a very valuable contribution to the current discussion on inequality of educational opportunities.

Alexander Fisher (Managing Director of DIW Berlin) hands over the prize to Dean Lillard
Photo: Stephan Röhl

Dean Lillard, Cornell University, Ithaca/NY: "Keeping it in the family? If parents smoke do children follow?" (second prize)

Committee comments: The paper deals with the question whether parents transmit their smoking habits to their children. This is an important topic given that smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in developed countries.
The paper is outstanding, as it exploits the life-course histories of individuals' smoking behavior and combines this with appropriate methods to control for endogenous smoking and measurement error in the retrospective data. By using cigarette prices at the time when the parents were adolescents as instrument for parental smoking, the study is the first for Germany that measures causal effects.
Dean Lillard finds that although there is a strong correlation in smoking behavior between parents and children, there is only a causal effect for fathers' tobacco consumption on their daughters' smoking behavior.

Best Poster

Timo Hener,  Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Munich for the poster: "Do Couples bargain over fertility? New evidence based on child preference data"

Committee comments: "This theoretical model based in family economics suggests that households should not be considered as individual decision-making units. In contrast to earlier studies, his paper uses preference data on public goods in the family, such as fertility. In line with his theoretical model, Timo presents empirical evidence that couples bargain over fertility.