Der Zugang zur Berfusausbildung von Jugendlichen mit Migrationshintergrund: Selbstselektion, Diskriminierung oder beides?
Germany’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector is the major channel for the integration of a growing number of students with a migrant background – a group that is overrepresented among non-university school tracks leading towards VET. However, their participation in VET is lower compared to Germans. I argue that previous studies have neglected the role of educational preferences in explaining these disparities. Building on the literature on secondary effects of ethnic origin, I test whether migrants self-select into academic tracks to pur-sue higher academic qualifications and to what extent this selection explains ethnic inequality in VET access. Using a longitudinal sample of students at the end of lower secondary education (NEPS, N=6247), this study shows that self-selection accounts for 40% of ethnic disparities in VET access. However, further analysis reveals that self-selection at this stage should be understood as complementary to, rather than competing with, alternative explanations, such as discrimination. Implications for research and policy are discussed.