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Social Mobility & Status Attainment I. Three Generations of Comparative Intergenerational Stratification Research. 3 Generations of Research in Intergenerational Stratification. The core issue: what are the mechanisms of transmission of socioeconomic advantage from generation to generation

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social mobility status attainment i

Social Mobility & Status Attainment I

Three Generations of Comparative Intergenerational Stratification Research

3 generations of research in intergenerational stratification
3 Generations of Research in Intergenerational Stratification
  • The core issue: what are the mechanisms of transmission of socioeconomic advantage from generation to generation
  • I follow the outline of Ganzeboom et al. (1991); 3 generations of research after WW II are distinguished
the 1 st generation
The 1st Generation
  • An example of 1st generation research is Lipset et al. (originally published 1956)
  • Focus is on tables representing occupational mobility from fathers to sons
  • Analysis is “little more than the inspection of inflow and outflow percentages” (p. 280)
  • It is recognized that observed mobility rates are a function of marginal distributions, thus not comparable
main questions findings of 1 st generation
Main Questions/Findings of 1st Generation
  • Overall pattern of social mobility is much the same in all Western industrial societies (vs. idea of US exceptionalism)
  • Mobility rates higher in industrial than in nonindustrial societies
  • Effects of political structure on mobility?
    • Political stability - + > mobility rate
    • Socialism - + > mobility rate
ancillary questions of 1 st generation
Ancillary Questions of 1st Generation
  • Effect of mobility on voting behavior – see discussion in Lipset et al. pp. 314-316
  • Strong similarity of prestige hierarchies in different societies (Treiman 1977)
the 2 nd generation
The 2nd Generation
  • The paradigm of 2nd generation research is Blau & Duncan (1967); it reflects 3 major innovations
    • Use of 3-digit US Census occupational classification
    • Duncan’s SEI scale of occupational status (see later)
    • Measurement of indirect effects with the use of path models (see later)
duncan s scale of occupational status sei
Duncan’s Scale of Occupational Status (SEI)
  • Regress average prestige ratings (% “excellent” or “good”) for 45 occupations on % male workers with 4+ years HS and % with income $3,500+ (multiple r = .91)
  • Use regression coefficients to estimate SEI score for all occupations, from the occupation’s education and income distributions (see Table 1 pp. 267-268)
more on measurement of occupational status
More on Measurement of Occupational Status
  • Occupational prestige vs. socioeconomic status; how do the measures differ, especially for farmers?
  • Why do Featherman & Hauser (1976) prefer SEI to prestige ratings?
  • Why does Hodge prefer prestige ratings?
measurement of status cont d
Measurement of Status (cont’d)
  • Hauser & Warren (GRUSKY pp. 281-286) conclude: “Although composite measures of occupational status may have heuristic uses, the global concept of occupational status is scientifically obsolete.” (p. 285) How do they get to that conclusion?
  • What do they propose instead of SEI? Why?
substantive patterns in b d model
Substantive Patterns in B&D Model
  • Direct occupational inheritance pRsOccFsOcc is only .115
  • Most of rFsOccROcc = .405 is indirect, thru RsEd
  • The major part of the total effect of RsEd on RsOc (.596) is independent of social origins (.535 vs. only .061 thru FsOc and FsEd) & driven by RsEd residual
substantive patterns cont d
Substantive Patterns (cont’d)
  • What is the substantive interpretation of the RsEd residual: unmeasured ability, effort, free will or agency?
new substantive questions
New Substantive Questions
  • How does effect of R’sEd on R’sOcc compare with direct effect of F’sEd on R’sOcc? B&D find ratio is 2.9:1. They conclude that in mid-20th century US achievement was more important than ascription in determining occupational status
  • B&D reckon that industrialization increases importance of achievement relative to ascription processes
substantive questions cont d
Substantive Questions (cont’d)
  • Note how ascription is associated with relative effect of family background (e.g., F’sOcc), and achievement is associated with relative effect of education (R’sEd)
  • Treiman (1970) – In more developed countries F’sOcc -> R’sEd and F’sOcc -> R’sOcc weaker (less ascription)
  • Effect of political structure – less ascription under socialism
the 3rd generation
The 3rd Generation
  • Shift from multivariate linear regression to loglinear models (Hauser 1978)
  • Advantages of loglinear models “believed by their advocates to be”:
    • Can distinguish absolute from relative mobility chances (social fluidity)
    • Can model diagonal (=class immobility) and off-diagonal cells separately
results from casmin project
Results from CASMIN Project
  • Common classification of occupational classes (EGP categories)
  • CASMIN “core model” parameters associated with inheritance effects, hierarchical effects, sectoral effects, and (dis)affinity effects
  • Specific substantive conclusions:
results from casmin cont d
Results from CASMIN (cont’d)
  • Inheritance & sectoral effects more important than hierarchical effects for relative mobility patterns
  • Patterns of relative intergenerational mobility do not differ much across industrial countries (except that relative mobility is slightly higher in Sweden & US)
problems with casmin
Problems with CASMIN
  • Other research finds large between-country variation in parameters of mobility tables (vs. common fluidity model)
  • CASMIN loglinear levels model does not estimate overall characterization of mobility regime
  • Other models that do reveal single dimension resembling occupational status ordering of classes
results from 3 generations of research
Results from 3 Generations of Research
  • Throughout the world intergenerational occupational mobility is driven by SES as measured by SEI-type scales
  • Throughout the world there is excess intergenerational occupational immobility especially in classes with significant proprietorship
  • Mobility patterns differ across time and countries; responsible factors not clear
results cont d
Results (cont’d)
  • Status attainment research suggests that R’sEd is more important determinant of R’sOcc than parental Occ, and that bulk of R’sEd effect is independent of social origins
  • At same time Ed is important mechanism of transfer of advantage from generation to generation
  • “It is evident that firmly established conclusions regarding societal variations and similarities in the structure and process of intergenerational social mobility are not numerous. There is much work to be done.” (Ganzeboom et al., p. 297)