NEPS Decisions

The project “NEPS Decisions” is responsible for collecting sociodemographic information and for designing instruments to explain educational inequality for all starting cohorts within the National Educational Panel Study. The project focuses on the reasons why educational decisions—such as the choice of elementary school, the choice of secondary school, the decision to continue the educational career by taking up a course of studies or a vocational training program, or the participation in occupational further training—vary across different sociostructural groups. Class-specific differences in educational decisions can still be observed even when achievements (e.g., grades, competencies, certificates) are comparable.


This makes it necessary to clarify the significance of class-specific educational aspirations, motivations, expectations of success, and perceptions of the costs of education, as well as class-specific differences in the access to financial, cultural, and social capital when it comes to the acquisition of education. The project focuses on the most influential sociological theories that have been proposed to explain educational inequality. These are rational choice theories, bounded rationality approaches, and theories on norms and effects of reference groups, as well as theories of cultural and social capital.


Contact: neps-entscheidungen(at)


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