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Biography

Bio

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 EducationResearch in Social Stratification and Mobility, and Demographic Research

Dissertation Summary

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 and developmental psychology to study how parental SES affects skill formation and educational attainment, and evaluate its implications for social justice theories. Particularly, the dissertation focuses on Germany and looks at (1) the consequences of prenatal health shocks (e.g., birth weight) in the development of cognitive and noncognitive skills; (2) the effect of cognitive and noncognitive skills on transition rates to secondary education; (3) and the stratification of these associations by parental SES. 

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 chapters, I draw data from the Twin Life Study and the National Educational Panel Study and apply a quasi-causal empirical design (e.g. twin fixed-effects; panel and classroom fixed-effects).