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Dr Michael Grätz
Job Title : Research Fellow
College Group : Sociology
Research Interests : Child Development, Education, Family Sociology, Social Demography, Social Stratification and Mobility, Quantitative Methods and Research Design
Nuffield College
New Road
Oxford, OX1 1NF
United Kingdom


Biographical Sketch


I am a Postdoctoral Prize Research Fellow at Nuffield College, University of Oxford. I received my Ph.D. in Political and Social Sciences from the European University Institute (EUI) in 2015.

My current research focuses on variation in social mobility across countries, over time, and between social groups within societies. Furthermore, I work on the underlying mechanisms and influencing macro-level factors of social mobility. A particular emphasis of my work is on how demographic processes contribute to intergenerational mobility.​



Does Separation Really Lead Fathers and Mothers to be Less Involved in their Children’s Lives? European Sociological Review, 33,  551-562. DOI: 10.1093/esr/jcx058. Link​

​Parental Responses to Disadvantageous Life Events: The Month of Birth Penalty in England (with Fabrizio Bernardi). In Jani Erola and Elina Kilpi-Jakonen (Eds.), Social Inequality Across the Generations: The Role of Resource Compensation and Multiplication in Resource Accumulation. Cheltenham, Edward Elgar.


Compensation or Reinforcement? The Stratification of Parental Responses to Children’s Early Ability (with Florencia Torche). Demography, 53(6), 1883-1904. DOI: 10.1007/s13524-016-0527-1. Link

Legacies of the Past: Social Origin, Educational Attainment and Labour-Market Outcomes in Germany (with Reinhard Pollak). In Fabrizio Bernardi and Gabriele Ballarino (Eds.), Education, Occupation and Social Origin: A Comparative Analysis of the Transmission of Socio-Economic Inequalities. Cheltenham, Edward Elgar. 


Making Up for an Unlucky Month of Birth in School: Causal Evidence on the Compensatory Advantage of Family Background in England (with Fabrizio Bernardi). Sociological Science, 2, 235-251. DOI: 10.15195/v2.a12. Link

When Growing Up Without a Parent Does Not Hurt: Parental Separation and the Compensatory Effect of Social Origin. European Sociological Review, 31, 546-557. DOI: 10.1093/esr/jcv057. Link



​My PhD thesis is a collection of four empirical studies which analyze the effects of family and sibling characteristics on educational outcomes. The analysis in all empirical studies is guided by the compensatory effect of social origin hypothesis according to which higher social origin families can reduce the negative impact of disadvantageous characteristics and life events on their children’s educational outcomes. In detail, I study the effects of month of birth, parental separation, birth order, birth spacing, and maternal age. I use data on England, Germany, and Sweden. On a methodological level, I employ natural experiments, fixed effects methods, and instrumental variable (IV) estimation in order to control for the influence of unobserved confounding variables. Overall, I find support for the initial hypothesis with respect to the effects of month of birth, parental separation, and close birth spacing. Contrary to that, I find no systematic social origin differences in the effects of birth order and maternal age on educational outcomes. In the conclusion, I discuss the implications of these findings for theories of the intergenerational transmission of education, the differences in life chances of children from socio-economically advantaged and disadvantaged families, and the allocation of resources within families. I discuss how further research could possibly test in how far differences in parental involvement between social origin groups are underlying these relationships.

Link to Thesis

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