Educational Systems and Inequality Research Program at the University of Amsterdam (Educsys)

I am a member of the Educational Systems and Inequality research program at the University of Amsterdam. In this project, we study the importance of the institutional setup of educational systems for patterns of inequality. How do educational systems affect patterns of inequality by socioeconomic background, ethnicity and gender? And why? And what are the political, economic and social contexts in which educational reforms are implemented?

PhD project: Mechanisms of Educational Inequality in Different Educational Systems

Education increasingly determines who gets ahead in society. However, educational credentials are unequally distributed. Children of different socio-economic origins face unequal opportunities to obtain higher levels of education. My dissertation examined some of the individual- and family-level mechanisms that contribute to this inequality of opportunity in education and how they are related to the structure of the educational system. In particular, I focused on two mechanisms, families’ knowledge of the educational system and educational expectations. Furthermore, the dissertation also investigates whether these inequality-generating processes affect returns to education on the labor market. I used longitudinal panel data in different countries as well as register data to compare individual-level trajectories across educational systems. The PhD project was part of the NWO-VICI project “Between institutions and social mechanisms: education and inequality in comparative perspective”.

Supervisors: Herman van de Werfhorst and Thomas Leopold

Forster, Andrea G. (2021). Navigating Educational Institutions: Mechanisms of Educational Inequality in Different Educational Systems. University of Amsterdam.

Life-course effects of Vocational Education

In this project I studied labor market outcomes of graduates from vocational and general education over the life-course. This research mostly focuses on the prominent hypothesis of “vocational decline” which argues that vocational workers face a trade-off between early career advantages and later employment and wage penalties on the labor market. 

(together with Thijs Bol and Herman van de Werfhorst)