Herman Van de Werfhorst

Herman Van de Werfhorst, Prof.

Prof. Herman Van de Werfhorst has worked in fields that the current proposal integrates. His VIDI-project studied institutions and mechanisms in the labour market. Three mechanisms for why education is rewarded on labour markets were examined: education as indicator of skills people obtained; education as a positional good, and education as a form of social closure. His NWO-PROO program is macro-oriented, and studies how institutions are related to inequalities. The NWO-VICI project is an important next step in this agenda, with two main innovations: (1) the mechanism approach is applied to institutional effects on inequality of educational opportunity; (2) the study of how institutions evolve and are legitimated. Van de Werfhorst has also published on micro-level mechanisms within countries, measuring people’s concerns with downward mobility (which appeared identical across social classes as relative risk aversion theory would predict), and social differences in time discounting preferences and risk attitudes as predictors of educational attainment. In the FP7 GINI project a database is created on educational institutional regulations in all European countries and the USA, Japan, Australia, Canada, and Korea since the 1950s to present. Importantly, in the GINI project he has developed a model to analyse multilevel data with time and country variation in contextual variables with the inclusion of country and year fixed effects.

WORK PACKAGES: 1 (co-leader)

University of Amsterdam
The Netherlands


Breen, R., Van de Werfhorst, H. G., Jaeger, M. M. (2014). Deciding under Doubt: A Theory of Risk Aversion, Time Discounting Preferences and Educational Decision Making. European Sociological Review, 30(2), 258-270.

Notten, N., Lancee, B., Van de Werfhorst, H. G. & Ganzeboom, H. (2014). Educational stratification in cultural participation: Cognitive competence or status motivation? Journal of Cultural Economics.

Bol, T., Witschge, J., Van de Werfhorst, H. G. & Dronkers, J. (2014). Curricular Tracking and Central Examinations: Counterbalancing the Impact of Social Background on Student Achievement in 36 Countries. Social Forces, 92(4): 1545-1572.

Van de Werfhorst, H. G. (2014). Changing societies and four tasks of schooling: Challenges for strongly differentiated educational systems. International Review of Education, 60(1), 123–144.

Salverda, W., Nolan, B., Checchi, D., Marx, I., McKnight, A., Tóth, I. G., Van de Werfhorst, H. G. (Eds.) (2014). Changing Inequalities and Societal Impacts in Rich Countries: Analytical and Comparative Perspectives. Oxford University Press.