Jesper Fels Birkelund

Jesper Fels Birkelund


I am a quantitative sociologist who works on social inequality and intergenerational mobility with a particular interest in how the education system contributes to shaping patterns of inequality and mobility. I have published papers on these topics in leading peer-reviewed journals such as Social ForcesSocial Science ResearchEuropean Sociological Review, and British Journal of Sociology.

Currently, my work revolves around the following four areas of research:

1. Covid-19 learning loss (Postdoc project funded by Spar Nord Fonden)

To what extent has nationwide school closures affected children’s learning? Are socially disadvantaged children hit particularly hard?

2. The Danish secondary school system

How has the influence of family background on educational choice changed over time? What are the relative returns to academic and vocational education over the life-cycle?

3. Ethnic inequalities

How do ethnic groups differ in terms of academic performance, aspirations, and success? Are ethnic minorities discriminated against in the labor market?

4. Social mobility

What role does education play in the reproduction of social inequalities across generations? The mobility paradox: Why is Denmark more socially mobile than the US in terms of earnings, but not education or social status?

Primary fields of research

Social inequality, intergenerational mobility, sociology of education, social marginalization, applied microeconometrics

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