Temporary Blemishes or Lifelong Scars?
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Temporary Blemishes or Lifelong Scars? Cohort fluctuations in Education and Stratification in France and United-States (1980-2005). Louis Chauvel Pr at Sciences Po Paris [email protected] http://www.louischauvel.org. My aims Theory: Cohorts, Hysteresis & Resilience

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Louis Chauvel

Pr at Sciences Po Paris

[email protected]://www.louischauvel.org

  • My aims

  • Theory: Cohorts, Hysteresis & Resilience

  • Methodology: from the standard Age-Period-Cohort models to the assessment of resilience

  • Substance: diffusion of diploma and occupational prestige/class in France and the US

  • Results: intensity of cohort fluctuations and intensity of resilience

  • Discussion: US and France : two different regimes of diffusion of education and of status attainment

1. Th: The importance of cohort analysis

  • Theory of social generations (Karl Mannheim)

  • Cohort and social change (Norman Ryder)

  • The methodology of APC analysis (Yang Yang)

  • Examples: * suicide in France * consumption in China* political participation * etc. , etc. , etc.

Karl Mannheim


Norman Ryder 1923-2010

Yang Yang


  • Socialization versus individual and collective history

    • Life course and socialization

    • Primary and secondary socialization

    • The « transitionnal socialization »

    • Long term impact of the « transitionnal socialization » : « scar effect »

    • History and the constitution of a Generationengeist (spirit of generations) and of a Generationenlage (situation of generation)

16-18 y.o.

  • 25-30 y.o.

Methodology : the base  A = P – C

BUT ! How to distinguish durable scarring effects and fads ???

Hysteresis = stability versus Resilience = resorption of scars

2. Methodology: APC and resilience

Methodo : Intrinsic Estimator for Age-Period-Cohort Analysis

The standard APC : identification problem solved (Wilmoth 2002)

The intrinsic estimator APC

Yang Yang, Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, Wenjiang J. Fu, and Kenneth C. Land. 2008. “The Intrinsic Estimator for Age-Period-Cohort Analysis: What It Is and How To Use It.” American Journal of Sociology,113(May).

Example : US and diplomas (bachelor and master degrees)

% of bachelor (and+) degree owners



Example : US and diplomas (bachelor and master degrees)

Cohort coefficents of the APC model of bachelor (and+) degree owners


The test of hysteresis

h<0 => “resilience”: decreasing cohort fluctuations over life course.

h=0 => “hysteresis”: stability of cohort effect over life course

h>0 => “cohort Matthew effect”: increasing cohort fluctuations

Examples there :


3. Substance: diffusion of diploma and occupational prestige/class in France and the US

  • Diploma diffusion / overeducation (Freeman 1975) / “inflation of diploma” (Marie Duru Bellat, 2005)

  • Mismatches between number of young graduates and social positions as professionals

  • Myth or reality?

  • The United States file

    The file is a 1975-2008 United States Current population survey. There is no intersection with the previous file. The size of the extract containing population between age 20 and 64 is n= 1.285.367. It is an extract from IPUMS-CPS Minnesota site.

  • The French file

    The French file is similar: a « Enquête Emploi » (1975-2008) cumulative file (size of the extract containing people between age 20 and 64 is n=942 550).


  • Educational inflation % of Baccalaureat holders accessing EGP service class (h+l) 1970-2005



Source : Enquêtes emploi 1970-2005 N= 774.424

4. Results: strong effects in France with no resilience weak effect in the US and resilience


H = -.1986096 CI=[-.2959371; -.1012821]



4. Results: strong effects in France with some resilience weak effect in the US and hysteresis


H = -.1053799 CI = [-.2738079 ; .063048]

H not sign diff to 0


5. Discussion: France (Mediterranean europe) and the problem of youth

  • Differences in Welfare and educational regimes

    In France http://www.louischauvel.org/frenchpolcultsoc.pdf

  • Lack of integration of educated young workers in France

  • Risk of “déclassement social”

  • Problem of matching between education and real positions

    In the U.S.

  • “that’s OK”

  • Future concerns

Basic references

  • Duru-Bellat M. (2006) L'inflation scolaire : les désillusions de la méritocratie. Paris : Le Seuil.

  • Ellwood D. (1982) “Teenage Unemployment: Permanent Scars or Temporary Blemishes?”, in Richard B. Freeman and David A. Wise, The Youth Labor Market Problem, Its Nature, Causes, and Consequences, National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report, Chicago : University of Chicago Press.

  • Mason W.M. and S.E. Fienberg (1985), Cohort Analysis in Social Research : Beyond the Identification Problem, Berlin, Springer Verlag.

  • Freeman, R.B. (1976) The overeducated American. New York: Academic Press.

  • Gangl, M. (2004) “Welfare states and the scar effects of unemployment: a comparative analysis of the United States and West Germany.” American Journal of Sociology 109 (6), 1319-1364

  • Hastings, D.W. and L.G. Berry (1979) Cohort Analysis: a Collection of Iterdisciplinary Readings. Oxford, OH: Scripps Foundation for Research in Population Problems.

  • Mannheim, K. (1928) “Das Problem der Generationen“, Kölner Vierteljahres Hefte für Soziologie 7: 157-85, 309-30.

  • Ryder, N.B. (1965) “The Cohort as a Concept in the Study of Social Change.” American Sociological Review, 30: 843-861.

  • Yang Y., Fu W.J. and Land K.C. (2004) “A Methodological Comparison of Age-Period-Cohort Models: The Intrinsic Estimator and Conventional Generalized Linear Models”, Sociological Methodology, Vol. 34, (2004), pp. 75-110

  • Yang Y. and Land K.C. (2006) “A Mixed Models Approach to Age-Period Cohort Analysis of Repeated Cross-Section Surveys: Trends in Verbal Test Scores”, Sociological Methodology, 36:75-97.

  • Yang Y. and K. Land (2008) “Age-Period-Cohort Analysis of Repeated Cross-Section Surveys: Fixed or Random Effects?”, Sociological Methods and Research 36: 297-326.

  • Yang Y. (2008) “Social Inequalities in Happiness in the U.S. 1972-2004: An Age-Period-Cohort Analysis”, American Sociological Review 73:204-226.