I am working as a Ph.D. researcher at the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the European University Institute (EUI), Florence. My research interests include child development, educational inequalities, intergenerational social mobility, social policies and policy evaluation.
I hold a Master of Research in Sociology and Demography at the Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, a Master of Science in Sociology at the University of Tilburg, the Netherlands, and a Master of Research in Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute, Florence.
I worked as a research assistant at the University of Tilburg (European Values Study and an international volume on social mobility published by Stanford University Press) and as an external consultant for the EUROFOUND. My work has been published in journals such as Sociology of Education, European Sociological Review, Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, and Demographic Research.
Early-life circumstances are crucial for skill formation and socioeconomic attainment later in life. It is well-known that socioeconomic (SES)-gaps in skill development emerge already before preschool age and tend to persist over time, but we are only starting to understand its underlying biological and environmental mechanisms. Furthermore, even when disadvantaged students achieve the same level of academic skills than more advantaged peers, they still have lower chances of getting ahead in the educational system. From a normative perspective, these regularities are at odds with the role of ability as the main criterion of merit for liberal theories of equality of opportunity.
The dissertation bridges an inter-disciplinary literature on social stratification, human capital formation, developmental and personality psychology, and epidemiology to study how parental socioeconomic status (SES) affects skill formation and educational achievement during childhood (5-11 years old), and evaluate its implications for social justice theories. My dissertation contributes to the literature by analysing (1) the consequences of prenatal health shocks (e.g., birth weight) in the development of cognitive and noncognitive skills (e.g., behavioural problems); (2) the effect of cognitive (e.g., non-verbal IQ and competencies) and noncognitive skills (e.g., conscientiousness, motivation, effort) on transition rates to secondary education; (3) and the stratification of these associations by parental SES due to mechanisms such as parental investments (e.g., cultural activities and warmth), aspirations and teachers’ bias in grading and track recommendations.
The German case is particularly relevant for testing theories of skill-formation and intergenerational educational inequality given its early ability-tracking educational system that funnels pupils into academic or vocational training pathways at 10 year-old.
To carry out the empirical analyses, I draw data from the register-based panel Twin Life Study and the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS), applying advanced quantitative methods (i.e., hybrid multilevel models) and quasi-causal designs (e.g., panel; twin fixed-effects; school fixed-effects).