DICE: The Development of Inequalities in Child Educational Achievement: A Six-Country-Study


(funded by the Open Research Area for the Social Sciences (ORA / DFG))

Project direction in Germany:

Prof. Dr. Sabine Weinert (Bamberg Team);
Prof. Dr. Thorsten Schneider (Leipzig Team)

Research assistant (Bamberg):

Dr. Anna Volodina

Cooperation Partners: The project team is made up of senior, mid, and early career researchers from the partner countries. PIs from United Kingdom: Dr. Elizabeth Washbrook, Prof. Jane Waldfogel. PIs from France: Dr. Anne Solaz, Dr. Lidia Panico. PI from the Netherlands: Prof. Renske Keizer. Partners from the USA and Japan are complementing the research team.

The aim of the DICE project is to advance our understanding of disparities in child development (including cognitive, social/emotional, and health outcomes) according to socioeconomic status (parental education) by using rich cohort and administrative data from six countries in a harmonized framework. In particular, such questions as how inequalities develop over time (ages 3 to 16), what factors may influence inequalities, and how national context may strengthen or buffer these processes will be investigated. The specific aims of the DICE project are: (1) to provide new evidence on the extent and sources of inequalities in early childhood and at the start of school (here, the role of parenting/home environment and preschool will be in focus); (2) to describe trajectories of child development and identify factors (e.g., parental involvement, parent-school interactions) that reduce or increase inequalities as children move into primary and from primary into secondary school; (3) to describe inequalities at the start of secondary school and analyze trajectories of development, and factors (e.g., school type, tracking) that reduce or increase inequalities, as children move throughout for heterogeneous effects across the ability distribution.

The project consists of six analyses. The Bamberg team is mainly involved in Analysis 2, which aims to describe and explain early inequalities in child development (i.e., cognitive development, social-emotional development, and health). Cross-national evidence on inequalities in early childhood, before children start formal schooling, is extremely scarce, yet also crucial. An important first step in studying six countries involved in the project is to understand which inequalities in various aspects of child development exist among young children, the explanatory power of different contextual factors, and how these vary across countries. Results will be disseminated to academic audiences (e.g., in scientific journals), to policy makers and non-academic stakeholders.

Datasets used for analyses in DICE Project: Germany: the Infant Cohort Study from the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS-SC1); Kindergarten Cohort Study from the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS-SC2); Starting Cohort 5th Grade from the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS-SC3); UK: Millennium Cohort Study (MCS); Longitudinal Study of Young people in England (LSYPE); The British Cohort study 1970 (BCS70); The France: French Longitudinal Study of Children (ELFE birth cohort), La Direction de l’évaluation, de la prospective et de la performance (DEPP panel); The Netherlands: The Generation R Study (GenR); the USA: (ECLS-B; ECLS-K 2011; ECLS K1998); Japan: Longitudinal Survey of Newborns in the 21st Century (LSN 21), Japan Child Panel Survey (JCPS).


Datasets used for Analysis 2: NEPS SC 1, MCS, ELFE birth cohort, Generation R, ECLS-B, and LSN 21.

DICE started in January 2019.

Further information: https://dice.site.ined.fr/en/