In This Article Social Mobility

  • Introduction
  • Textbooks
  • Data Sources
  • Statistical Methods
  • Journals
  • Early Work
  • Economic Mobility
  • Wealth
  • Class
  • Methods for Analyzing Mobility Tables
  • Trends
  • Educational Mobility

Sociology Social Mobility
by
Steven Rytina
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 July 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0049

Introduction

Social mobility refers to the movement of individuals, families, or groups among stratified social positions. Conceptions of social stratification form a necessary backdrop, but mobility has long been recognized as a distinct area of concern. Since stratification is metaphoric and mobility concepts are derivative, mobility notions are rich in complexity. A central intuition is that the division of labor associates type of work with regularities in rank, including economic rank and ranked social condition(s), potentially extending to standards of living, politics, esteem from others, health, and much else. Colloquial terms for this include “class,” “standing,” and “status.” All convey some notion that households are ranked, or stratified, from higher to lower as a consequence of economic roles of principal breadwinners. However, colloquial usage no longer plays much part in terminology; and class, standing, and status have all acquired special meanings. As an illustrative complexity, Erikson and Goldthorpe 1992 (see Methods for Analyzing Mobility Tables) identifies “class” with nonvertical contrasts in addition to vertical ones. Mobility requires taking assessments of social rank at two (or more) points in time and comparing them. Those with the same rank are “immobile.” Those with different ranks at different points are “mobile” and, depending on the scheme of rank, may be mobile in different degrees. Plainly, all results are contingent on how rank is defined. In principle, all manner of entities—such as nations, firms, or ethnic groups—could be said to experience mobility. But in practice, mobility studies have primarily been carried out by means of large, random samples of individuals. Such studies are expensive and relatively few in number. Hence, the study of mobility is constrained by the decisions taken in the design of such studies. Many of the leading figures in mobility investigation were the principal investigators of the major data-generation projects. Every such dataset includes rich resources for classifying and ranking individual cases. Such schemes are often layered, with initial codes subject to recodes, sometimes followed by further assignments of coded categories to numerical levels. Ranks along multiple dimensions are defined by means of available variables. Such schemes, in general, can be said to “stratify” cases. All results are contingent on how strata are coded. Hence, stratifying schemes give rise to unity among persons who adopt a shared scheme and conflict among proponents of alternative schemes. These divisions played a large role in the evolution of the field. Dataset designers omitted resources that others deemed desirable, often from the perspective of hindsight. For example, the restriction of many early datasets to fathers and sons seems unfortunate today. However, the frustration of missing facets is, in part, compensated by the high precision implicit in drawing on a shared fact base. A further problem, closely intertwined with schemes of stratifying cases, is how to reduce the succession of ranks to any simple summary. From the earliest days, this problem was seen to pose stiff methodological challenges. Mobility studies attracted many of the top methodologists and inspired many key advances in quantitative sociology. Shared data and advanced methods have characterized the field. While methodological debate has sometimes dominated discussions, shared questions set the stakes. First, are the collective facts of family rank (or social class) persistent or evanescent, and is this changing? Pioneers hoped that mobility studies would help assess whether classes as collective actors were likely to wax or wane. The answer has proved elusive, for trends remain hard to pin down and are thus topics for ongoing debate. A second motive is to understand access to social advantage. How important is origin (e.g., father’s job) relative to other factors, such as education? For most, this bears on key issues of fairness.

Textbooks

There exist no texts on social mobility. However, some familiarity with social stratification is necessary. Kerbo 2008 provides one of the best surveys that attempts to provide a balanced introduction to the available perspectives. Grusky, et al. 2008 assembles many of the source materials. While not a text, Turner 1984 provides a crisp distillation of societal stratification that introduces many of the key concepts. While also not a text, Scott 1996 provides an introduction to the widely shared multidimensional view.

  • Grusky, D. B., M. C. Ku, and Szonja Szelényi, eds. 2008. Social stratification: Class, race, and gender in sociological perspective. 3d ed. Boulder, CO: Westview.

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    Provides very wide coverage of essential sources for stratification, covering the three modalities. Since mobility is addressed as a special topic, coverage is necessarily brief. A drawback is that most selections are excerpts. The interested reader might want to consult the originals, which are widely available online.

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    • Kerbo, H. 2008. Social stratification and inequality: Class conflict in historical, comparative, and global perspective. 7th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

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      A traditional survey text that reviews competing perspectives.

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      • Scott, J. 1996. Stratification and power: Structures of class, status and command. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

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        Reviews and (partially) revises Weber’s influential triad of class, status, and party. The oft-neglected “party” is replaced with the more promising “command,” which nicely adds bureaucratic authority. Provides a good introduction to the almost universally held antirealist position that multiple analytic dimensions can be conjured up by theorists (or practitioners) as a preliminary to empirical work.

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        • Turner, J. 1984. Societal stratification. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

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          Provides a succinct review of variables that shape stratification structures. Provides comprehensive tables that neatly summarize qualitative differences in societies that influence stratification systems. Combines factors as symbols in formulae that are clear and illustrate the challenge that theory faces, but that haven’t achieved wide currency.

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          Data Sources

          While some early studies, and historical studies up to the present, draw on cities or other subnational units, random samples of national populations are the dominant data sources. The International Stratification and Mobility File Catalog of International Social Mobility Data provides a highly comprehensive listing of locations from which archived data may be obtained.

          • The International Stratification and Mobility File Catalog of International Social Mobility Data.

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            This site is a project of the UCLA Social Science Data Archive–Institute for Social Science Research. Many of the sources listed are only available through other sites specified in the listing. Access to these is variable and often is subject to restrictions. Many are public resources but some require special academic affiliations. Some charge for media. Some critical scrutiny may be in order. Archived data may not include raw variables that were subsequently recoded. Amendments, usually minor, may have been made after publications were prepared.

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            Statistical Methods

            Statistical models play a large role in studies of social mobility. Mobility tables are analyzed using the categorical data models described by Agresti 2007 and Long 1997. Duncan 1975 and Fox 2008 describe the linear regression models used to describe status attainment.

            • Agresti, A. 2007. An introduction to categorical data analysis. 2d ed. Wiley Series in Probability and Statistics. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

              DOI: 10.1002/0470114754E-mail Citation »

              Provides a comprehensive survey of statistical tools for categorical data, which in turn provides foundations and an introduction to the tabular methods that have been applied to mobility data.

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              • Duncan, O. D. 1975. Introduction to structural equation models. Studies in Population. New York: Academic Press.

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                Provides a highly accessible introduction to structural equation modeling (SEM) at a modest mathematical level. Such models were central to the status attainment project. Noteworthy for Duncan’s pithy warnings about the necessity of satisfying the formal assumptions.

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                • Fox, J. 2008. Applied regression analysis and generalized linear models. 2d ed. Los Angeles: SAGE.

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                  Presents regression in the more recent form as a common basis for modeling dependencies for outcomes that satisfy different distributional assumptions.

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                  • Long, J. S. 1997. Regression models for categorical and limited dependent variables. Advanced Quantitative Techniques in the Social Sciences 7. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

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                    Reviews tools applicable when outcomes are discrete categories or ordered sets of categories. Education is a central illustration.

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                    Journals

                    Social mobility studies may be found in general sociological journals including the American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Annual Review of Sociology, British Journal of Sociology, European Sociological Review, and Social Forces. A specialized source is the annual Research in Social Stratification and Mobility.

                    • American Journal of Sociology.

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                      A general-interest, peer-reviewed journal published by the University of Chicago Press. Available online to subscribers.

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                      • American Sociological Review.

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                        A general-interest, peer-reviewed journal that is the flagship of the American Sociological Association. Issues are available online to subscribers.

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                        • Annual Review of Sociology.

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                          Provides articles that review the current state of various subfields of sociology. Published by Annual Reviews of Palo Alto, California. Available online to subscribers.

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                          • British Journal of Sociology.

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                            A peer-reviewed journal published by Blackwell. Although it is a general-interest journal, it has most often featured scholars with British ties and articles that draw on UK or European data. Available online to subscribers.

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                            • European Sociological Review.

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                              A peer-reviewed journal published by Oxford University Press. While it is an international and general interest journal, scholars and topics associated with Europe are predominant. Available online to subscribers.

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                              • Research in Social Stratification and Mobility.

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                                Under the purview of the International Sociological Association’s Research Committee 28 on Social Stratification and Mobility. Many papers that originate at the frequent meetings organized by RC 28 appear here. Both affiliations and topics draw from across the world of social science research. Available online to subscribers.

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                                • Social Forces.

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                                  A general-topic, peer-reviewed journal associated with the Southern Sociological Association and housed at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Available online to subscribers.

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                                  Early Work

                                  From the outset, social mobility was widely equated with how occupation fluctuated across generations. Sorokin 1959 (first published in 1927) fleshed out the intuition with concepts that could be addressed by means of data, much from existing government tabulations. It was clear early on that fleshing out the intuition with data raises difficult problems. Davidson and Anderson 1937 addressed data on occupations not dissimilar to what is used today, but with ample references to uncertainties about how best to proceed. Rogoff 1953, Glass 1954, and Carlsson 1958 provided extended analyses of mobility tables—cross-classifications of occupations of fathers and of sons. Such early statistical methods are only of historical interest today. However, introductory discussions remain valuable for their exploration of popular and professional usage. This brings out the embarrassment of riches—many different criteria are available for arranging occupations into a hierarchy. In a different vein, Davis and Moore 1945 offered a functionalist theory of stratification that laid out an agenda for connecting occupational role, training, and rewards. Young 1958 introduced the concept of meritocracy in a satirical description of a world where talent, occupation, and rewards were in near-perfect harmony. For many, these ideal descriptions suggested central questions about patterns and trend in mobility.

                                  • Carlsson, G. 1958. Social mobility and class structure. Lund, Sweden: Gleerup.

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                                    Provides one of the most thorough early discussions of how to conceptualize and measure stratification, which Carlsson termed “class.”

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                                    • Davidson, P. E., and H. D. Anderson. 1937. Occupational mobility in an American community. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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                                      An early illustration of adopting a classification of occupations as a scheme of hierarchy, albeit one that is somewhat uncertain, outlined in chapter 1 (pp. 1–16). The next three chapters (pp. 17–69) address occupational inheritance, the “floundering period” of early work experience, and “the role of schooling.”

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                                      • Davis, K., and W. Moore. 1945. Some principles of stratification. American Sociological Review 10.2: 242–249.

                                        DOI: 10.2307/2085643E-mail Citation »

                                        The most prominent version of the functional theory of stratification. Arguably the origin of such later themes as focus on occupations as ranks in a ladder of prestige grounded in consensus. For a sampling of the heated controversy this provoked, see Grusky, et al. 2008, cited under Textbooks.

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                                        • Glass, D. V. 1954. Social mobility in Britain. International Library of Sociology and Social Reconstruction. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

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                                          Chapter 2 (pp. 29–50) describes occupational grading. Chapter 7 (pp. 177–217) introduces the concept of perfect mobility, another name for statistical independence. This early strategy for adjusting for the marginal distribution was much criticized by later workers.

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                                          • Rogoff, N. 1953. Recent trends in occupational mobility. New York: Free Press.

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                                            Used marriage records to obtain occupations of fathers and sons. Rogoff’s pioneering effort was widely admired and became a baseline for later work. Chapters 1 and 2 (pp. 19–33) introduce the problem that mobility depends on the relative frequency of possible origins and destinations.

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                                            • Sorokin, P. A. 1959. Social and cultural mobility. New York: Free Press.

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                                              Pioneered the metaphor of a social space with a vertical dimension along which movement was possible (chapters 1 and 2 (pp. 3–19). Chapters 6 and 7 (pp. 99–162) describe occupations and forming strata and use this scheme to give an account of fluctuation. Sorokin’s equation of strata with boxes, wherein bonds of solidarity wax and wane, occurs on pp. 533–546. Originally published in 1927.

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                                              • Young, M. 1958. The rise of the meritocracy. London: Thames and Hudson.

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                                                Satirical depiction of a future society where rank goes strictly with talent. Young depicts a dystopia where the poor, stripped of leadership by the rise of their talented compatriots, ultimately rebel against their arrogant betters. The term “meritocracy” soon lost its dystopian overtones and was seen as the theme of much mobility research, particularly studies of status attainment.

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                                                Economic Mobility

                                                While sociologists generally concentrated on occupations, which required thrashing out difficult issues of concept and measurement, studies of economic mobility, generally by economists, have provided an interesting contrast. Few economists question that money is paramount. Becker and Tomes 1979 provided a widely adopted foundation putting income at center stage. A significant turning point occurred when Solon 1992 and Zimmerman 1992 emphasized the importance of correcting for measurement error by averaging earnings over several years. Bowles and Gintis 2002 showed that a substantial fraction of inherited economic rank was not due to either education or ability. Mazunder 2005 and Haider and Solon 2006 added further adjustments for errors of measurement revealing US income elasticity (regression coefficient) above 6. This consensus on measurement is a basis that allowed Jäntti, et al. 2006 to present a revised international comparison in which the United States has the greatest inheritance, contradicting an assertion of exceptionalism that once was widely held. Chevalier, et al. 2009 extends this to a league table for educational inheritance. Black and Devereaux 2010 reviews the rapid progress by economists on multiple fronts of the recent past.

                                                • Becker, Gary S., and Nigel Tomes. 1979. An equilibrium theory of the distribution of income and intergenerational mobility. Journal of Political Economy 87.6: 1153–1189.

                                                  DOI: 10.1086/260831E-mail Citation »

                                                  Established a conceptual accounting of how to examine shifts across generations in “economic standing.”

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                                                  • Black, Sandra E., and Paul J. Devereux. 2010. Recent developments in intergenerational mobility. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Series 15889. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.

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                                                    Reviews the rapid progress made by economists over the last decade. Provides an excellent introduction to attempts to estimate causal effects using more recent statistical tools. Available online to subscribers. E-book.

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                                                    • Bowles, Samuel, and Herbert Gintis. 2002. The Inheritance of inequality. Journal of Economic Perspectives 16: 3–30.

                                                      DOI: 10.1257/089533002760278686E-mail Citation »

                                                      Celebrates the long-run success of a once-controversial research program. The authors contest early claims that intergenerational inheritance was (1) modest and (2) mainly mediated by meritocratic factors such as ability and education. They review a wealth of studies that demonstrate substantial inheritance, and that much of this is unmediated by measured ability of inequality. Available as free pdf.

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                                                      • Chevalier, Arnaud, Kevin Denny, and Dorren McMahon. 2009. A multi-country study of inter-generational educational mobility. In Education and inequality across Europe. Edited by P. Dolton, R. Asplundh, and E. Barth, 260–281. London: Edward Elgar.

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                                                        Reports that education inheritance is highest in Latin America, with correlations of 6. The Nordic countries have greatest fluidity, with the United States intermediate at 46. Previous version available as free pdf.

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                                                        • Haider, Steven, and Gary Solon. 2006. Life-cycle variation in the association between current and lifetime earnings. American Economic Review 96.4: 1308–1320.

                                                          DOI: 10.1257/aer.96.4.1308E-mail Citation »

                                                          Adds further adjustments for the ages at which observations are made, so that earnings are assessed at comparable levels of maturity.

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                                                          • Jäntti, Markus, Bernt Bratsberg, Knut Røed, et al. 2006. American exceptionalism in a new light: A comparison of intergenerational earnings mobility in the Nordic countries, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Discussion Paper 1938. Bonn, Germany: Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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                                                            Reveals the United States as least mobile, the UK next least, while the Nordic countries are less rigid in their economic stratification. Such findings on economic mobility are in tension with findings that occupational rigidity in the US (and UK) is little different from that in other countries. Also noteworthy for using transition matrices that are analogous to occupational mobility tables. In SSRN eLibrary.

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                                                            • Mazumder, Bhashkar. 2005. Fortunate sons: New estimates of intergenerational mobility in the United States using Social Security earnings data. Review of Economics and Statistics 87.2: 235–255.

                                                              DOI: 10.1162/0034653053970249E-mail Citation »

                                                              Averaging incomes over fifteen years reveals an elasticity for the United States.

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                                                              • Solon, Gary. 1992. Intergenerational income mobility in the United States. American Economic Review 82.3: 393–408.

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                                                                Published in the same issue as Zimmerman 1992; provides the outlines of an emerging standard.

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                                                                • Zimmerman, David J. 1992. Regression toward mediocrity in economic stature. American Economic Review 82.3: 409–428.

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                                                                  Complements and parallels Solon 1992. One can estimate “elasticities,” i.e., regression coefficients or the closely related correlation coefficients. Distorting fluctuation may be damped by averaging incomes over four or five years. The intergenerational connection that had been thought modest is revealed to be a good deal stronger.

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                                                                  Wealth

                                                                  While economists have addressed wealth inheritance, sociologists have made major contributions. Wealth accumulation is greatly facilitated by transfers within families, both while the wealthier are alive and after death. The effects are large and relatively unambiguous insofar as wealth inheritance is not readily interpreted as in any sense meritocratic. Conley 1999 identifies differences in inherited wealth as a major component of racial inequality. Keister and Moller 2000 reviews wealth mobility as a facet of the larger problem of wealth inequality. Spilerman 2000 emphasizes that wealth transfers and wealth effects are an underinvestigated component of conserving ranks across generations. Keister 2005 provides extensive empirical evidence on what accounts for accumulations of wealth.

                                                                  • Conley, Dalton. 1999. Being black, living in the red: Race, wealth, and social policy in America. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                                                                    White families enjoy wealth at much greater rates and in far larger quantities that do black families. This then affects many other kinds of life chances. E-book.

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                                                                    • Keister, Lisa A. 2005. Getting rich: America’s new rich and how they got that way. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                      Provides empirical estimates of pathways to wealth accumulation. Individual educational and occupational accomplishments play a large part. Parental wealth, via direct transfers of cash, and through indirect channels like education, also weighs heavily.

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                                                                      • Keister, Lisa A., and Stephanie Moller. 2000. Wealth inequality in the United States. Annual Review of Sociology 26:63–81.

                                                                        DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.26.1.63E-mail Citation »

                                                                        Provides background on magnitude and trend along with a brief summary of what was then known about wealth mobility.

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                                                                        • Spilerman, Seymour. 2000. Wealth and stratification processes. Annual Review of Sociology 26:497–524.

                                                                          DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.26.1.497E-mail Citation »

                                                                          Reviews the many ways that wealth is potentially implicated in reproducing social ranks over generations, including procuring education, buffering mishaps, and direct transfers of advantage. This identifies an underexplored and likely potent path to reproducing rank.

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                                                                          Class

                                                                          In popular usage, “class” is one of several terms that convey social rank, and popular usage does not clearly restrict the term to economic rank. Within mobility studies, “class” came to be seen as an antithesis to a continuum— a hierarchy of fine gradations, or ladder of many rungs, constructed by applying some scale or criterion of rank to a detailed scheme of occupational classification. Class thus came to be associated with broad, discrete categories. This jibed with Marxian usage, not least with the central forecast of eventual polarization into ever more homogeneous classes—in the end only two, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Further, Weber’s fragment on class, status, and party suggested that “class” should be restricted to economic divisions, broad and hence few in number, while perhaps allowing for more possibilities than Marxists might prefer. On such grounds, students of mobility generally construe classes as broad groupings, few in number, defined by economic condition. A least common denominator is that classes arise from proposed homologies (parallel forms) in how economic enterprises are organized. On such views, work organizations induce or foster categories by adopting analogical solutions to problems of recruiting, controlling, and compensating labor. (Ownership of firms remains analytically important but is numerically negligible for survey applications.) Marxists call these the relations of productions (see Wright 2005), while Weberians, (see Breen 2005), and others, speak of terms and conditions of employment. In either case, the large categories that derive from hypothetical homologies across work organizations are candidates for delimiting shared interests, political stances, conditions of life, and much else. Theory sketches of class are highly abstract, often best interpreted as tendency claims that will have variable impact in really existing formations. The homologies are variously proposed, analytical, or hypothesized. Such interpretations have largely freed class proponents from committing to classes as concrete, as limited to some definite number, or as subject to direct empirical testing. Devine 1997 reviews this evenhandedly. Grusky and Weeden 2001 questions the restriction to “big classes” in favor of a much finer set of divisions. Goldthorpe 2002 makes the case for the traditional approach.

                                                                          • Breen, Richard. 2005. Foundations of a neo-Weberian class analysis. In Approaches to class analysis. Edited by E. R. Wright, 31–50. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

                                                                            DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511488900.003E-mail Citation »

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                                                                            • Devine, F. 1997. Social class in America and Britain. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univ. Press.

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                                                                              Provides a good comparative review of Wright’s and Goldthorpe’s schemes in chapter 2 (pp. 18–44).

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                                                                              • Goldthorpe, J. H. 2002. Occupational sociology, yes: Class analysis, no: Comment on Grusky and Weeden’s “Research Agenda.” Acta Sociologica 45.3: 211–217.

                                                                                DOI: 10.1080/00016990260257193E-mail Citation »

                                                                                Makes the case for retaining the established lines of demarcation.

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                                                                                • Grusky, D. B., and K. A. Weeden. 2001. Decomposition without death: A research agenda for a new class analysis. Acta Sociologica 44.3: 203–218.

                                                                                  DOI: 10.1080/000169901750528331E-mail Citation »

                                                                                  Authors describe and defend their argument for characterizing much smaller pieces of divided labor with the concepts and problematic traditionally reserved for broad swathes.

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                                                                                  • Wright, E. O., ed. 2005. Approaches to class analysis. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511488900E-mail Citation »

                                                                                    Presents “class” from the standpoint of prominent proponents of some leading perspectives. Breen 2005 and the essays here by Wright (pp. 4–30, 180–192) are compact introductions to the Marxist and neo-Weberian traditions that have been most often employed in mobility research.

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                                                                                    Methods for Analyzing Mobility Tables

                                                                                    Mobility tables are square cross-classifications with rows and columns that correspond, both reflecting some scheme for classifying jobs. By convention, the rows refer to origins (e.g., fathers) and the columns refer to destinations (e.g., sons.) Thus every case (e.g., a father-son pair) is assigned to some cell in the array. The diagonal cells record immobility, cases where origin equals destination. The off-diagonal cells record mobility, subclassified by specific origins and destinations. The entries are interdependent in various ways. First, the number of categories influences the proportion on the diagonal and the numerically complementary proportion in off-diagonal cells. The latter is called absolute mobility. Second, the marginal distributions given by the relative frequencies of origins and destinations influence absolute mobility (e.g., relatively smaller margins tend to favor greater mobility totals). A variant is that changes in the marginal distributions, the fractions found in the rows and the columns, will also influence absolute mobility. For example, economic advance will tend to shift the occupational distribution out of farming, into manual work, and, ultimately, into nonmanual work. Such “occupational up-grading” ensured a preponderance of upward over downward mobility in many populations, most pronounced in most countries during the long boom that followed World War II. How to incorporate marginal totals and changes is a long-standing problem, emphasized by Duncan 1966. While solutions exist, they require adoption of some reference structure, often termed a “model.” The remainder left over after adjusting for (sometimes “controlling for”) the marginals is termed ”relative mobility.” Unlike absolute mobility, this is not a count or proportion or even a number, for it may refer to a complex pattern residual to some favored model. Models come in families, nearly all of which originate with Goodman 1972, Goodman 1979, and Goodman 1984; and choice of family remains open to taste. Hout 1983 reviews the prominent options. In general, models can be used to compare tables, and to conclude whether differences are negligible, that is, whether relative mobility is the same. Goldthorpe 1980 proposes a model of contrasts in cell densities, termed a “topology,” that is, an exemplar of log-linear strategies for resolving this problem. The baseline against which relative mobility is assessed can be even more complex, involving different magnitudes for assorted combinations of rows and columns. Only in some special cases, formalized by Xie 1992, does the comparison reduce to a single parameter that captures “relative mobility” as a specific quantity. And the controversy between Hout and Hauser 1992 and Erikson and Goldthorpe 1992, with each side preferring different options from Goodman’s proposals, showed that model selection remained a contested resolution of theoretical and methodological preferences.

                                                                                    • Duncan, O. D. 1966. Methodological issues in the analysis of social mobility. In Social structure and mobility in economic development. Edited by Neil J. Smelser and Seymour Martin Lipset, 51–97. Chicago: Aldine.

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                                                                                      Forever altered how mobility tables are viewed. Points out the fallacy of construing them as “generations” that in any concrete sense replace one another. Draws attention to the problem of ensuring that interpretation is conditional on the marginals of the table. This paper set the terms of the problem of modeling mobility. It was an outgrowth of the Conference on Social Structure, Social Mobility, and Economic Development, San Francisco, January 30–February 1, 1964, sponsored by the Committee of Economic Growth. Reprinted 2005.

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                                                                                      • Duncan, O. D. 1979. “How destination depends on origin in the occupational mobility table.” American Journal of Sociology 84: 793–803.

                                                                                        DOI: 10.1086/226861E-mail Citation »

                                                                                        Reviews the contrast between regression models for status attainment and models for the mobility table. Uniform association in the mobility table provides a near-parallel by specifying contrasts in destinations as a function (constant logged odds ratios) of contrasts in origins. The fat diagonal is identified as a remaining puzzle.

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                                                                                        • Erikson, R., and J. H. Goldthorpe. 1992. The CASMIN project and the American dream. European Sociological Review 8.3: 283–305.

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                                                                                          Debates how (and whether) a unified choice of models is feasible or desirable. However one chooses to score the exchange, no conversion to a common standard seems to have occurred.

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                                                                                          • Goldthorpe, J. H. 1980. Social mobility and class structure in modern Britain. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                            Presents the layered, topological model that would evolve into the core social fluidity model of Erikson and Goldthorpe’s CASMIN (Comparative Analysis of Social Mobility in Industrial Nations) project. In the latter form, it has been widely adopted for comparative research, especially in Europe. Chapter 4 (pp. 94–120) was coauthored with Clive Payne.

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                                                                                            • Goodman, L. A. 1972. Some multiplicative models for the analysis of cross-classified data. In Proceedings of the Sixth Berkeley Symposium on Mathematical Statistics and Probability. Vol. 1, Theory of statistics. Conference at the Statistical Laboratory, University of California, June–July 1970. Edited by L. M. LeCam, Jerzy Neyman, and Elizabeth L. Scott, 649–696. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                                                                                              Where Goodman proposed rich classes of tools, many of which play a large part in the evolution of mobility table modeling. Log-linear and related approaches were brought to the fore.

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                                                                                              • Goodman, L. A. 1979. Simple models for the analysis of association in cross-classifications having ordered categories. Journal of the American Statistical Association 74.367: 537–552.

                                                                                                DOI: 10.2307/2286971E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                Proposes several methods for imposing scales on categories and for estimating relative locations of categories in patterns of exchange. Goodman thereby provides equal resources for those who favor discrete, not necessarily ordered schemes that become identified with “class” and schemes that treat categories as positions distributed over one or more hierarchies.

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                                                                                                • Goodman, L. A. 1984. The analysis of cross-classified data having ordered categories. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                  Collects many of Goodman’s seminal efforts, including the two cited above.

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                                                                                                  • Hout, M. 1983. Mobility tables. Quantitative applications in the social sciences no. 07-031. Beverly Hills, CA: SAGE.

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                                                                                                    Provides a relatively accessible introduction to the principle alternatives.

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                                                                                                    • Hout, M., and R. M. Hauser. 1992. Symmetry and hierarchy in social mobility: A methodological analysis of the CASMIN model of class mobility. European Sociological Review 8.3: 239–266.

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                                                                                                      Provides a contrary analysis of Erikson and Goldthorpe’s CASMIN data featuring Goodman’s “scaled association” that arranges categories into hierarchal form.

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                                                                                                      • Xie, Y. 1992. The log-multiplicative layer effect model for comparing mobility tables. American Sociological Review 57.3: 380–395.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.2307/2096242E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        Describes the “uni-diff” model that allows for any shared (i.e., uniform) pattern of origin-destination association modified by a single parameter that allows for differences in intensity.

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                                                                                                        Imposed Class Categorizations

                                                                                                        Mobility tables are relative to the codes used to sort jobs into a limited number of categories. These set the terms of reference for all possible quantitative work. The same point, negatively expressed, is that failure to conform on coding conventions effectively bars any comparison between statistical results. This compounds the difficulties inherent in arriving at agreement on appropriate baseline models to adjust for marginal changes. Hence, success at creating conformity in coding is the precondition of making headway on issues of trend or international comparisons. An illustration is the convergence on findings in the wake of the wide diffusion of the EGP (Erikson-Goldthorpe-Portocarero) scheme. Three principle varieties of imposed classes are the Nuffield tradition (named for John Goldthorpe’s Oxford College), the Blau-Duncan occupational categories, and the Marxist class categories proposed by E. O. Wright. The variants share a number of common properties. All are based on detailed occupation codes. Other codes of work condition, such as status as employee or owner, are used detailing a source of variety across schemes. Such microcodes are then grouped or sorted into larger “bins,” and these, in turn, are often further grouped into fewer bins, often in stages culminating in a few broad groupings. By such steps, all come with rules that implement variation of the number of distinctions, by combining smaller bins to make larger ones. One result is that categories can often be made to coincide with broad occupational classes (e.g., clerical workers) of the local census or labor statistics agency. The source of conformity in codes is authoritarian operationalization. All codes have been subject to occasional revisions. In practice, these have been undertaken only by the original authors. This brings out a key feature. The codes are public in that it is possible to obtain computer code that will exactly replicate data definitions. However, the codes are opaque conceptually and empirically. In general, no authorized clues or standards exist by which non-authorities might identify the most problematic cases, inspect the grounds for decisions, or propose revisions based on such inspection. Yet ambiguity surely existed. Close reading of the relevant discussions reveals uncertainty resolved by recourse to opinions and intuitions by the available experts. Since the codes, by common design, respect the contours first mapped when state agencies designed codes for occupation, the boundaries reflect those older understandings.

                                                                                                        The Nuffield Tradition

                                                                                                        The great success story in diffusing a standard for coding class stems from work done by John Goldthorpe of Nuffield College at Oxford University, along with others. The foundation was a study of occupational ratings (which many term “prestige” ratings) found in Goldthorpe and Hope 1974. Thirty-six intermediate-sized aggregates of occupation from this study were grouped to form the class schema of Erikson, et al. 1979. These provide the basis for the project described in Erikson and Goldthorpe 1992 of modeling the CASMIN national datasets as variations on a core pattern of social fluidity. Goldthorpe 2000 provides a retrospective interpretation of the class schema in terms of employment contrasts.

                                                                                                        • Erikson, R., and J. H. Goldthorpe. 1992. The constant flux: A study of class mobility in industrial societies. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                          Reports on the CASMIN effort to effect a grand standardization of class coding. Chapter 2 describes the class-coding schema. Chapter 4 describes the model of common core fluidity. Chapter 5 exhibits the national cases as variants on a model of constant social fluidity. This seminal result provides the common denominator that helped to stabilize comparisons and create research consensus.

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                                                                                                          • Erikson, R., J. H. Goldthorpe, and Lucienne Portocarero. 1979. Intergenerational class mobility in three western European societies: England, France and Sweden. British Journal of Sociology 30.4: 415–441.

                                                                                                            DOI: 10.2307/589632E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                            Reports, somewhat in passing, the scheme for aggregating the thirty-six elements to form classes. This is called the EGP coding, after the authors, and has been widely adopted. One element of the thirty-six was moved, resulting in a slight variant on the class schema used by Goldthorpe 1980.

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                                                                                                            • Goldthorpe, J. H. 1980. Social mobility and class structure in modern Britain. New York, Oxford University Press.

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                                                                                                              Presents the layered, topological model that would evolve into the core social fluidity model of Erikson and Goldthorpe’s CASMIN (Comparative Analysis of Social Mobility in Industrial Nations) project. Widely adopted in the latter form for comparative research, especially in Europe. Chapter 4 (pp. 94–120) was coauthored with Clive Payne.

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                                                                                                              • Goldthorpe, J. H. 2000. Social class and the differentiation of employment contracts. In On sociology: Numbers, narratives, and the integration of research and theory. By J. H. Goldthorpe, 206–229. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                Chapter 10 interprets the class schema as capturing large thematic differences in employment contracts.

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                                                                                                                • Goldthorpe, J. H., and K. Hope 1974. The social grading of occupations: A new approach and scale. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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                                                                                                                  Reports how the class-coding schemata (including minor variants) are rooted in a study of popular evaluations of occupations. A series of steps led from the 800+ occupations distinguished by the Office of Population Surveys and Census (of the UK) to thirty-six occupational aggregates, first provided here as a simplified coding device for the occupational ratings. Later class schemas are produced by combining these into categories. See especially pp. 22–46 and pp. 131–144.

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                                                                                                                  The Blau-Duncan Occupational Categories

                                                                                                                  The standard category scheme for US data derives from Blau and Duncan 1967, and Blau and Duncan derived it directly from an occupational classification of the US Census, described in Edwards 1938. Conk 1978 describes how the scheme was created. This is not usually referred to as a class scheme but, after its source, as a socioeconomic classification of occupations or, more plainly, as “broad occupational categories” or even “occupation.” This generic style of reference arguably reflects the absence of any accepted conceptual account—the scheme is routinely adopted without explicit rationale. As ever, the ultimate referent can be unpacked to detailed codes sorted into larger bins using long-standing rules, further subdivided according to other job characteristics that apply to subsets. Featherman and Hauser 1978 illustrates how the scheme is adopted as a given for organizing data. Hout 1988 adopts the standard framework without comment as a scaffold within which empirical variants can be assessed.

                                                                                                                  • Blau, Peter M., and Otis Dudley Duncan. 1967. The American occupational structure. New York: Wiley.

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                                                                                                                    Introduces the tenfold scheme with seven further distinctions based on broad industry (e.g., construction, retail) and differentiating between employee versus self-employed or employer. A variety of ingenious analyses are presented that order the categories in variant patterns, usually hierarchical, but also two-dimensional. No empirical or conceptual resolution into some unifying master pattern is attempted. See especially chapter 2 (pp. 23–80).

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                                                                                                                    • Conk, Margo. 1978. Occupational classification in the United States: 1870–1940. Journal of Interdisciplinary History 9.1:111–130.

                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.2307/203672E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      Provides some insight into the gray areas of the design process. The census faced the problem of reducing write-in answers about jobs to some set of useful categories of detailed occupations, and then reducing these in number to permit ready tabulations. Details were often lacking, so that intuition and guesswork had to fill gaps. As an unsettling example, “skill” was sometimes imputed from the “superior” ethnicity of incumbents.

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                                                                                                                      • Edwards, Alba M. 1938. A social-economic grouping of the gainful workers of the United States. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.

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                                                                                                                        Reports the ten-category scheme that was adapted by Blau (see Blau and Duncan 1967). As in the UK counterpart, traditional large categories (e.g., Farm, Manual, and Non-Manual) are conserved, since finer categories are strictly subdivisions. Edwards’s goal was to group occupations into a gradational scheme of socioeconomic ranks. Nothing is said of what occupations fell on borderlines or how such cases were resolved.

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                                                                                                                        • Featherman, David, and Robert Hauser. 1978. The occupational structure: Measurement and trend. InOpportunity and change. Studies in Population. By Daivd Featherman and Robert Hauser, 19–62. New York: Academic Press.

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                                                                                                                          Subjects the same seventeen-part scheme to further exercises of ordering into variant hierarchies or two-dimensional maps.

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                                                                                                                          • Hout, Michael. 1988. More universalism, less structural mobility: The American occupational structure in the 1980s. American Journal of Sociology 93:1358–1400.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1086/228904E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            Masters the methodological challenge (posed by Duncan 1979, cited in Methods For Analyzing Mobility Tables). Maps mobility by locating the broad occupational categories along scales of status, autonomy, and training. Reports a sharp decline in upward mobility due to occupational upgrading. This general-impact result is offset, somewhat, by a finding that access to jobs coded “professional” is relatively independent of occupational origins for college graduates.

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                                                                                                                            Marxist Class Categories

                                                                                                                            The Marxist account of class, expanded in Wright and Perrone 1977, began with theoretical reflection on how to adapt a Marxist outlook to a world of large employment organizations. The poles remain a mass of relatively undifferentiated labor and a (numerically tiny) class of owners. Wright’s novelty was to further differentiate labor by level of training and by supervisory responsibility, leading to what he called “contradictory locations.” These amendments expand the initial twofold classification into a two-way grid formed by the two additional modes, skill and responsibility. This can be expanded or collapsed as goals and data densities require. Western and Wright 1994 applies this scheme to compare four Western countries. Wright 1997 provides a more extended theoretical and empirical treatment with his customary lucidity.

                                                                                                                            • Western, Mark, and Erik Olin Wright. 1994. The permeability of class boundaries to intergenerational mobility among men in the United States, Canada, Norway, and Sweden. American Sociological Review 59.4: 606–629.

                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.2307/2095934E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              Draws on Wright’s great success in organizing replicate studies in several countries. Log-linear models of varying densities of flow among different categories provide a straightforward means to address the key questions.

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                                                                                                                              • Wright, Erik Olin. 1997. Class counts: Comparative studies in class analysis. Studies in Marxism and social theory. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                Chapter 1 reviews Wright’s theorization of class. Chapter 6 presents the comparative analysis of intergenerational permeability of the facets of class. Wright takes a broad view of associations influenced by class and provides reviews of marriage and friendship. Gender merits an extended section.

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                                                                                                                                • Wright, Erik Olin, and L. Perrone. 1977. Marxist class categories and income inequality. American Sociological Review 42.1:32–55.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.2307/2117730E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  Introduced Wright’s ideas to the larger world of stratification research with what would become his customary clarity. While mobility is not directly addressed, the goal of supplanting the then-dominant status attainment perspective is embraced.

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                                                                                                                                  Comparative Research

                                                                                                                                  As Peter Blau used to remark, the definite article in the title of Blau and Duncan 1967 (The American Occupational Structure, cited under The Blau-Duncan Occupational Categories) signified that the unit of analysis was the United States. Thus, comparisons among different national results are the ultimate goal. A common belief, based on limited evidence, was that rates in the United States were exceptionally high. Lipset and Zetterberg 1959 (under Early Efforts at Comparing Mobility Rates) challenged this with empirical evidence and proposed what came to be called the LZ hypothesis—that absolute rates of mobility differed little and were converging. This was a complement to the then-popular thesis of modernization, that industrialization would induce common social patterns. But absolute rates of mobility plainly differed between societies at different stages in the movement from farm to factory. In response, Featherman, et al. 1975 (under Early Efforts at Comparing Mobility Rates) proposed that relative, not absolute, rates would tend toward a common pattern. But the Featherman, et al. 1975 thesis presupposed some model to partial out relative from absolute rates. Hence, the early efforts at comparing mobility were hampered by the diversity of measures, models, and methods. But potential bases for convergence finally appeared with the model of core social fluidity developed by Erikson and Goldthorpe 1992 (cited under The Nuffield Tradition). This set the stage for a later round of research where consensus on findings became stronger.

                                                                                                                                  Early Efforts at Comparing Mobility Rates

                                                                                                                                  Lipset and Zetterberg 1959 rejected the widely held thesis of American exceptionalism with the claim that mobility rates differed little and were converging. Treiman 1970 spelled out a further widely held view, that modernization (and industrialism) imposed common requirements for schooling the population and promoting people based on acquired skills rather than ascribed characteristics. But this process was progressive and thus must be at different stages in different countries. By a similar token, shifts in relative size of occupational segments such as Farm, Blue Collar, and White Collar would entail forced mobility that would occur only during the period of transition. Hence, Featherman, et al. 1975 proposed that absolute mobility rates could, even should, differ, but that relative mobility rates should show a common pattern. Erikson, et al. 1982 proposed that relative mobility be specified in terms of odds ratios, patterns of flow between categories that are net of marginal totals or changes in marginals. This gave rise to the core model of social fluidity found in Erikson and Goldthorpe 1987a and Erikson and Goldthorpe 1987b that reduced multiple industrial nations to modest variations around a common pattern. With the benefit of hindsight, this was a prologue to the common denominator that would be supplied by Erikson and Goldthorpe 1992 (cited under Methods For Analyzing Mobility Tables). In the meantime, Ganzeboom, et al. 1991 reviewed a large body of work that underscored the difficulties in achieving broad agreement about findings.

                                                                                                                                  • Erikson, R., and J. H. Goldthorpe. 1987a. Commonality and variation in social fluidity in industrial nations: Part I: A model for evaluating the “FJH Hypothesis.” European Sociological Review 3.1: 54–77.

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                                                                                                                                    Laid out the core model of social fluidity. The mobility table is divided into zones of differing density. A key feature is that hierarchy is complemented by nonhierarchical patterns, like inheritance and sector.

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                                                                                                                                    • Erikson, R., and J. H. Goldthorpe. 1987b. Commonality and variation in social fluidity in industrial nations: Part II: The model of core social fluidity applied. European Sociological Review 3.2: 145–166.

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                                                                                                                                      Shows how the core model can be used to reduce a collection of mobility tables from different nations to modest variations around a common pattern.

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                                                                                                                                      • Erikson, Robert, John H. Goldthorpe, and Lucienne Portocarero. 1982. Social fluidity in industrial nations: England, France and Sweden. British Journal of Sociology 33:1–34.

                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.2307/589335E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                        Rejects the LZ thesis of convergence in absolute rates but begins the advance toward identifying a common pattern of social fluidity—odds ratios that capture flows between categories but are independent of marginal totals.

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                                                                                                                                        • Featherman, David L., F. Lancaster Jones, and M. Robert Hauser. 1975. Assumptions of social mobility research in the U.S.: The case of occupational status. Social Science Research 4:329–360.

                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1016/0049-089X(75)90002-2E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                          Somewhat in passing, advanced the FHJ thesis of a common set of relative mobility rates, net of changes or contrasts in occupational distributions.

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                                                                                                                                          • Ganzeboom, Harry B. G., Donald J. Treiman, and Wout C. Ultee. 1991. Comparative intergenerational stratification research: Three generations and beyond. Annual Review of Sociology 17:277–302.

                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1146/annurev.so.17.080191.001425E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                            Reviews the somewhat halting progress that resulted from unresolved differences in measures, models, and methods. Efforts to trace differences back to causes are impeded by the difficulty of spelling out what warrants explanation. Similarly, attempts to attribute effects to mobility differences go into eclipse.

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                                                                                                                                            • Lipset, Seymour M., and Hans Zetterberg. 1959. Social mobility in industrial societies. In Social mobility in industrial society. Edited by S. M. Lipset and R. Bendix, 11–75. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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                                                                                                                                              Used coarse mobility tables distinguishing Farm, Manual, and Non-Manual segments, and percentages to undermine the thesis of exceptionally high rates of American mobility.

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                                                                                                                                              • Treiman, Donald J. 1970. Industrialization and social stratification. Sociological Inquiry 40.2: 207–234.

                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-682X.1970.tb01009.xE-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                Provides a compact outline of the functionalist theory of convergent modernization. Implementing advanced productive technologies would increasingly require producing organizations to recruit and promote on the basis of skills acquired through formal schooling. Direct occupational inheritance would decline while mobility through education would increase.

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                                                                                                                                                Signs of Convergence in Mobility Comparisons

                                                                                                                                                Erikson and Goldthorpe 1992 (see The Nuffield Tradition) marks a turning point. The conjunction of the EGP class schema and the model of core social fluidity brought order to the problem of comparison. France and the UK occupy the center of a space of variation. While other countries are not identical, the differences are modest—variations around a common theme. Breen 2004 reports a collaborative effort across nine European countries that mostly overlap with the CASMIN countries. Contrary to most earlier reports, some convergence in absolute mobility rates are observed, affirming the LZ thesis, in large part because differences in the marginal distributions are declining. Stable differences among countries are apparent and apply to both genders more or less equally. In partial contrast with Sorokin’s “trendless fluctuation,” echoed by Erikson and Goldthorpe 1992 (see The Nuffield Tradition), only a few countries show limited change, while a modest increase in fluidity is found in several. Breen and Jonsson 2005 report somewhat less even progress in pinning down the role of education comparatively. Hout and DiPrete 2006 reviews (and celebrates) the work of RC28. Erikson, et al. 2010 updates Erikson and Goldthorpe’s classic work with more recent data that generally sustain the authors’ earlier findings.

                                                                                                                                                • Breen, Richard. 2004. Social mobility in Europe. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1093/0199258457.001.0001E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  Reports on a large-scale collaborative analysis of data from nine European countries that overlap with many of the CASMIN countries. Chapter 1 outlines the issues. Chapter 2 provides an excellent review of the log-linear methods used. Chapter 3 sums up the results. Later chapters provide detailed considerations of national cases.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Breen, Richard, and Jan O. Jonsson. 2005. Inequality of opportunity in comparative perspective: Recent research on educational attainment and social mobility. Annual Review of Sociology 31:223–243.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.31.041304.122232E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    Reviews the large gaps that remain of difference in method, measures, and results. None of modernization, reproduction, or socialist transformation theories are strongly confirmed. Stability of class differences in education are sometimes observed, but evidence of declining differences has been found in other locales. At best, uneven progress has been made in pinning down changes in fluidity with regard to education or class and in tying these to larger themes.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Erikson, Robert, John H. Goldthorpe, and Lucienne Portocarero. 2010. Intergenerational class mobility and the convergence thesis: England, France and Sweden. British Journal of Sociology 61.1: 185–219.

                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-4446.2009.01246.xE-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                      Brings their classic comparison up to date with more recent data. England and France remain more similar, with Sweden isolated as different.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Hout, Michael, and Thomas A. DiPrete. 2006. What we have learned: RC28’s contributions to knowledge about social stratification. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 24.1: 1–20.

                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1016/j.rssm.2005.10.001E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                        Provides a somewhat selective review of papers presented at meetings organized by Research Committee 28 of the International Sociological Association. A good starting point for looking into more specialized topics, such as specific countries or subpopulations. Many of the papers are listed in their conference editions and not uniformly in subsequent peer-reviewed appearances.

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                                                                                                                                                        Occupational Scaling

                                                                                                                                                        The intuition that occupations form a hierarchy leads directly to the question of mobility posed as movement up or down in the hierarchy. The common name for this is “occupational status.” This is the inspiration for “status attainment,” which means examining the allocation of occupational rank as a process of social mobility. But occupations are nominal categories that do not come with any predefined scale of ranks. The intuition is grounded in the complex circumstance that all manner of ranking attributes correlate with occupation, including educational qualifications, earnings, esteem from others, housing quality, consumption styles, and many others. The problem is to justify singling out some central dimension and then to produce a set of scaled values. The oldest solution was to assess popular sentiments of esteem for different occupations or prestige. The most prominent solution was a hybrid fix—missing values on prestige could be closely approximated by a weighted sum of occupational incumbents’ education and earnings levels. These became known as socioeconomic index (SEI) scores. A third solution is to use rates of social association (and dissociation or exclusion) such as intergenerational mobility or intermarriage to directly capture the pattern by which rank is reproduced.

                                                                                                                                                        Prestige Scales

                                                                                                                                                        Prestige provided the initial bright line solution. Davis and Moore 1945 (cited under Early Work) contains a functional theory of stratification that explained unequal rewards as an unconsciously evolved device that motivated the most talented to undergo the training that would equip them to perform the roles of greatest functional importance. Prestige, or standing in the eyes of others, was an ideal illustration. Agreement on honor was a variation on the structural-functionalist theme of value consensus. And unlike some rewards, public honor could not be wrested by force or fraud, but had to be offered voluntarily by the public. Hodge, et al. 1964 summed up an extended body of research that showed that such sentiments were highly consistent across samples, including samples separated in time. Treiman 1977 extended the finding of (near-) stability to comparison across a very wide range of national samples.

                                                                                                                                                        • Hodge, R. W., P. M. Siegel, and P. H. Rossi 1964. Occupational prestige in the United States, 1925–63. American Journal of Sociology 70.3: 286–302.

                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1086/223840E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                          Reported on replications using random sample surveys of popular judgments of occupations. The stability of rankings was a very high correlation of .99. This was widely regarded as a great discovery—a nearly invariant social fact.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Treiman, D. J. 1977. Occupational prestige in comparative perspective. New York: Academic Press.

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                                                                                                                                                            Describes the Treiman constant that Hout and DiPrete 2006 (cited under Signs of Convergence in Mobility Comparisons) celebrates as one of the most important results in the history of RC 28. A very large body of evidence establishes the high similarity of surveyed occupation ratings across times and places. The result is not quite constant, since the median correlation between occasions is .91, but the regularity is still quite striking. Treiman 1970 (cited under Early Efforts at Comparing Mobility Rates) advances a functionalist argument to account for this convergence.

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                                                                                                                                                            Occupations Scaled by a Socioeconomic Index (SEI)

                                                                                                                                                            The second approach was a hybrid, first proposed as a means to fill in missing information. The name reflects a long history of attempts to pin down social rank. The notion that occupations are locations in a “socioeconomic” hierarchy is quite old and was current at the US Census in the 19th century. A common acronym in the mid-20th century was SES, standing for “socioeconomic status,” generally taken to refer to a composite combining some or all of income, education, prestige, wealth, ethnicity, and family background. Such composites have gone out of fashion in sociology, but the term remains in the socioeconomic index (SEI), popularized by Duncan 1961. Duncan’s SEI became the preferred measure for status in studies of status attainment. However, a curious anomaly arose. Although Duncan’s construction was designed as a replacement for prestige and depends on prestige as a standard for calibration, using SEI instead of prestige generally results in higher correlations. On such grounds, Featherman, et al. 1975 (cited under Early Efforts at Comparing Mobility Rates), argued that SEI should take priority. Many took heed. However, as Hodge 1981 argued, prestige had clear conceptual standing, while the conceptual warrant for SEI remained murky. Nakao and Treas 1994 presented updated versions of both prestige and SEI while calling attention to high rates of error in occupational codes. Ganzeboom and Treiman 1996 provided values for both prestige and socioeconomic rank applicable to occupational codes disseminated by the International Labor Office. Hauser and Warren 1997 provided updates for SEI but acknowledged difficulties and forecast obsolescence in the near term. Nam and Boyd 2004 provided the most recent version of the US Census tradition, arguably more straightforward but less commonly used, of attributing socioeconomic ranks to occupations without calibrating reference to prestige values.

                                                                                                                                                            • Duncan, O. D. 1961. A socioeconomic index of all occupations. In Occupations and social status. Edited by A. Reiss Jr., 109–138. New York: Free Press.

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                                                                                                                                                              Originated as a patch to obtain values for occupations for which prestige values had not then been estimated. The essence is to use regression weights for prestige regressed on measures of each occupation’s incumbents’ levels of education and of earnings. The basic sketch leaves room for adjustments and options so that extant measures always involve judgment calls by the authorities that provide the details.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Ganzeboom, H. B. G., and D. J. Treiman. 1996. Internationally comparable measures of occupational status for the 1988 International Standard Classification of Occupations. Social Science Research 25.3: 201–239.

                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1006/ssre.1996.0010E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                Based on the occupational classification (ISCO-88) of the International Labor Office. Provides internationally applicable prestige measures (SIOPS), international socioeconomic index (ISEI) scores, and EGP class scores. All are said to be measures of status.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Hauser, R. M., and J. R. Warren. 1997. Socioeconomic indexes for occupations: A review, update, and critique. Sociological Methodology 27:177–298.

                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1111/1467-9531.271028E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  Provides extended details on options and choices. Acknowledges the uncertain conceptual status without proposing a remedy. Suggests that retiring the measure might soon be in order.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Hodge, R. M. 1981. The measurement of occupational status. Social Science Research 10:396–415.

                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1016/0049-089X(81)90012-0E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                    Summarized this unsettled state of affairs.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Nakao, K., and J. Treas. 1994. Updating occupational prestige and socioeconomic scores: How the new measures measure up. Sociological Methodology 24: 1–72.

                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.2307/270978E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                      Updates prestige measures and socioeconomic scores. This report also documents large amounts of error in coding occupational information by first-tier survey organizations. Such error, on the plausible thesis that it is random, will inflate measures of occupational fluidity.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Nam, C. B., and M. Boyd. 2004. Occupational status in 2000: Over a century of census-based measurement. Population Research and Policy Review 23.4: 327-358.

                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1023/B:POPU.0000040045.51228.34E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                        Summarizes a long line of development of a pure socioeconomic index, the Nam-Powers Index of the US Census, that does not depend on prestige. Instead, census figures were used to attribute percentile standings for occupations in the overall distributions of education and of earnings.

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                                                                                                                                                                        Occupations Scaled by the Reproduction of Rank

                                                                                                                                                                        A third approach starts from the observation that much behavior is conditional on relative rank of interacting parties. As Schumpeter observed, the ultimate criteria of social class is acceptance into intimate association, for example, by marriage. The counterpart is steadily diminishing rates of acceptance with increasing differences in rank. This, and other examples, parallel Bourdieu’s accounts of inequalities as the source of internalized response tendencies that shape social association. The result is gradients of probability, from inclusion of equals to ever-stricter exclusion of those more unequal, that channel the reproduction of overall inequality. Prandy 1990 showed how data on intermarriage could be used to scale occupation. Rytina 1992 derived an occupation scale from the array of social distance implicit in greater and fewer frequencies of mobility among detailed occupations. Bottero and Prandy 2003 reviews the theoretical warrant for equating such schemes with stratification, per se. Van Leeuwen and Maas 2010 describes the increasing reliance on such emergent scales for historical studies where the data resources for other kinds of scales are not available.

                                                                                                                                                                        • Bottero, W., and K. Prandy. 2003. Social interaction distance and stratification. British Journal of Sociology 54.2: 177–197.

                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1080/0007131032000080195E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                          Provides theoretical warrants for using rates of social exchanges and/or associations among detailed occupations to scale the social distance(s) that mobility covers.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Prandy, K. 1990. The revised Cambridge scale of occupations. Sociology 24.4: 629–655.

                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1177/0038038590024004005E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                            Draws on marriage records, which are often extensive and readily available, to derive distances from the practice of social inclusion and exclusion.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Rytina, S. 1992. Scaling the intergenerational continuity of occupation: Is occupational inheritance ascriptive after all? American Journal of Sociology 97.6: 1658–1688.

                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1086/229943E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                              Shows that inequalities in occupational succession from one generation to the next delimit a hierarchy that corresponds to the mobility experiences of detailed occupations. Dispensing with either a priori categories or scales reveals rigidity that such conventions conceal.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • van Leeuwen, M. H. D., and I. Maas. 2010. Historical studies of social mobility and stratification. Annual Review of Sociology 36.1: 429–451.

                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.012809.102635E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                Interaction distance scales are increasingly popular for historical applications. Such data often consist of folk characterizations of occupations, e.g., in church records.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Status Attainment

                                                                                                                                                                                The publication of Blau and Duncan 1967 marked a dramatic turn in the study of social mobility. Stratification was recast as a process of status attainment. One key element was the recent development of the socioeconomic index (SEI), which allowed detailed occupation to be treated as a continuous variable. A second key element was the concept of a life course, a temporal sequence of variables. The earliest version distinguished family of origin, measured by fathers’ education and occupation, respondents’ education, first job or labor market entry, and current job. An exciting feature was that the sequence could be elaborated by inserting further stages captured by additional variables. The third key element was the interpretation of regression estimates via then-new multivariate tools of path analysis (soon augmented by the closely related techniques of structural equation models). With these tools, advocates claimed that causality could be resolved into estimated magnitudes of direct and indirect effects. Eventually skepticism about the causal warrant would grow, but little was apparent in the early development. Status attainment was the prime example that introduced these statistical tools to the sociological community. The numerical results could be placed on diagrams, of directed lines labeled by magnitudes, that many found compelling. In causal terms, direct effects proceeded from one variable, a cause, to another, an effect. Indirect effects flowed through variables that occupied intermediate positions in the causal sequence. The numerical results conform to the mathematical rules that govern regression estimation. These advances stirred up considerable excitement. Illustrations and examples soon flooded the major journals. Status attainment was hot. Comments often followed, sometimes in great profusion, and debates raged about best practices. In hindsight, clarity is more apparent than it once must have seemed. Much of the published work is based on just four datasets: Blau and Duncan 1967; Occupational Change in a Generation (renamed OCG-I once the replication was carried out, see Featherman and Hauser 1978, under Trends); the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS, see Sewell and Hauser 1980), and the National Opinion Research Centers General Social Survey (NORC-GSS). The latitude for different results is not very wide.

                                                                                                                                                                                • Bielby, W. T. 1981. Models of status attainment. In Research in social stratification and mobility. Vol. 1. Edited by D. Treiman and R. Robinson, 3–26. Greenwich, CT: JAI.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Boils it down succinctly. What is increasingly apparent is that intervening variables ordinarily absorb some fraction of the effect while leaving some direct effect. This half-empty/half-full outcome arguably should have been foreseen but wasn’t.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Blau, P. M., and O. D. Duncan. 1967. The American occupational structure. New York: Academic.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Outlines status attainment as a process that occurs as the life-course unfolds. The illustration is the five-variable, four-stage life-cycle sequence from family of origin to current job with education and first jobs as mediating stages. This gives rise to the iconic path model of the status attainment process (for the 1962 data). This establishes two central themes. Occupational inheritance is modest (the intergenerational correlation is only .405), and the greater part of that is mediated by education. See chapter 5

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Freedman, D. A. 1987. As others see us: A case study in path analysis. Journal of Educational Statistics 12.2: 101–128.

                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.2307/1164888E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                      A severe challenge to the causal interpretation of regression by a leading statistician. The status attainment project is his central example. The problem, simply put, is that to qualify as “cause” the measured variable must be the only theoretically plausible avenue for effect, except perhaps for perturbations that must be known, on equally strong theoretical grounds, to be uncorrelated with the cause. Simply nominating some variable as a plausible, possible cause does not suffice. Similarly, mere assertion that the residuals conform to ideal assumptions does not make it so.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Jencks, C., and S. Bartlett, et al. 1979. Who gets ahead? The determinants of economic success in America. New York: Basic Books.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        A team effort carried out at Harvard University. Highly recommended for the clear prose and the deft exposition of technical points. The focus on income allows them to use a somewhat wider range of data, with mixed results on cross-samples similarity reported in chapter 10. Chapter 8 sums up the findings on how earnings depend on background.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Lin, N. 1999. Social networks and status attainment. Annual Review of Sociology 25:467–487.

                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.25.1.467E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                          Possibly the single greatest new factor added was Lin’s demonstrations that social connections mediate the ability to locate better jobs.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Sewell, W. H., and R. Hauser. 1980. The Wisconsin Longitudinal Study of Social and Psychological Factors in Aspirations and Achievements, 1963–1990. In Research in sociology of education and socialization. Vol. 1. Edited by Alan C. Kirckhoff, 59–99. Greenwich, CT: JAI.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            Describes the Wisconsin model in its mature form. The core remains the same—individual perceptions are put forward as mediators between family background and the educational then occupational attainments that are indicators of adult rank.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Sewell, W. H., A. O. Haller, and Alejandro Portes. 1969. The educational and early occupational attainment process. American Sociological Review 34.1: 82–92.

                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.2307/2092789E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                              Presents an early implementation of the Wisconsin model. Based on the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS) data in Sewell and Hauser 1980, the model incorporates Sewell’s ongoing concern with education and with social-psychological mediation processes. A path model is used to add cognitive ability to family background. A causal sequence of performance in school, then influence of significant others, leads to educational and occupational aspirations, on out to completed education and early occupation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Sewell, W. H., R. M. Hauser, K. W. Springer, and T. H. Hauser. 2004. As we age: A review of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study 1957–2001. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 20:3–111.

                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1016/S0276-5624(03)20001-9E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                Looks back on this very fruitful research program (Sewell and Hauser 1980). Incremental developments have continued, but the core description of adolescence and early adulthood remains intact. Some efforts are made to acknowledge criticisms, but little new is offered to address such claims.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                Gender and Status Attainment

                                                                                                                                                                                                The pioneering datasets, notably the OCG-I and OCG-II, were restricted to male respondents. The extension to female respondents was a special topic. Treiman and Terrell 1975 reported the finding, surprising to some, that differences between genders were quite modest. As Rosenfeld 1978 demonstrated, such apparent similarity does not allow for gendered complications such as same-sex versus cross-sex status continuity. Indeed, no solution exists for relating marital dyads to the fourfold set of parents and in-laws, let alone for resolving the tangles entailed by divorce, remarriage, and common-law or same-sex unions. This underscores the fact that mobility tables and regressions of outcomes on origins are stylized approximations of mobility that, of necessity, ignore some considerations. Gender entails differences that, while modest, are hard to resolve between method and substance. This is illustrated by Warren, et al. 1998, which shows in detail how adjusting measures like SEI for gender reveals that results turn on methodological choices. The more common solution, illustrated by Breen 2004 (cited under Signs of Convergence in Mobility Comparisons), is to stratify analyses by gender and report the results in parallel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Rosenfeld, R. 1978. Women’s intergenerational occupational mobility. American Sociological Review 43.1: 36–46.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.2307/2094760E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Reported that daughters’ outcomes depended on mothers’ occupations as well as on fathers’. This point raises still-unresolved conceptual issues—both males and females reproduce rank through marriage and through labor-market experience.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Treiman, D. J., and K. Terrell. 1975. Sex and the process of status attainment: A comparison of working men and women. American Sociological Review 40.2: 174–200.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.2307/2094344E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                    First documented the widely replicated result that mean scaled adult occupations are nearly the same for women and men. For both, family of origin matters about the same and is mediated by education.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Warren, J. R., J. T. Sheridan, and R. M. Hauser. 1998. Choosing a measure of occupational standing: How useful are composite measures in analyses of gender inequality in occupational attainment? Sociological Methods & Research 27.1: 3–76.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1177/0049124198027001001E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Follows up on a long tradition of concern that socioeconomic indices for occupation give different results by gender because women generally have higher education and lower earnings than do men in the same occupation. Repeated estimation of gendered attainment results using various occupational indices leads to the conclusion that relative standing of men and women using composite measures like SEI is an arbitrary function of the weights given to education and earnings.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Trends

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Although one of the leading motives for studying mobility was to detect trends, to determine whether fluidity was rising or falling, this has proved difficult to resolve. The reason is all too evident—where mobility requires measures of inequality at two (or more) points in time, assessing trend requires two measures of mobility. Thus, mobility is a rate of change, while trend involves change in a rate of change. In a manner of speaking, this is a second derivative. Assessing a second derivative requires a very clean map of the underlying trajectory. Assessing trend raises many of the same problems that must be solved to compare different populations. Comparing trends across different populations is yet more challenging. Sorokin 1959, cited under Early Work, initiated debate with the claim (Sorokin’s) that mobility would show trendless fluctuation. Between the two world wars, many commentators, now largely forgotten, expressed fears that the United States was at risk of increased rigidity. O. D. Duncan devoted considerable energy to discrediting this body of opinion, not least with his pointed criticism of the slender empirical warrants for their claims. After World War II, modernization theory (Treiman 1970; cited under Early Efforts at Comparing Mobility Rates) held sway. Modernization theorists maintained that the United States was the model, and forerunner, toward which other societies would converge. Convergence was necessary if those societies were to achieve economic development. Science and technology were crucial. Implementation of these required vast expansions in education. To be successful, economic organizations would have to rely on schools to locate and train the talent that they would promote to lead the way. This would displace older patterns of stratification and thereby diminish the role of family background. Talcott Parsons summed this up as universalism displacing ascription. Rational, objective evaluations of individual capacities would increasingly outweigh the accidents of birth. Blau and Duncan 1967 (cited under The Blau-Duncan Occupational Categories), chapter 12, concluded that the evidence supported the thesis of increasing universalism and declining ascription. Subsequent research by Featherman and Hauser 1978, Hout 1988 (cited under The Blau-Duncan Occupational Categories), and DiPrete and Grusky 1990 appear to affirm this thesis of expanding universalism. Yet caution is indicated. Comparisons mainly rest on just three datasets: OCG-I, OCG-II, and NORC-GSS. The analyses involved turn on adopting quite elaborate measurement conventions. An alternative analysis of two later datasets by Rytina 2000 supports contrary conclusions. But Beller and Hout 2006 re-cites the favorable studies. An open issue is the apparent discrepancy of findings of higher rigidity of economic rank and lesser rigidity of occupational rank. As noted elsewhere, Erikson and Goldthorpe 1992 (cited under The Nuffield Tradition) argued for “trendless fluctuation” in class mobility in Europe. Subsequent research, reported in Breen 2004 (cited under Signs of Convergence in Mobility Patterns), finds uneven evidence, with fluidity stable in the UK but increasing in several other countries, further diminishing support for modernization theory. Goldthorpe and Mills 2008 uses an imaginative splice of different data series to supply evidence against trend for the UK.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Beller, E., and M. Hout. 2006. Intergenerational social mobility: The United States in comparative perspective. Future of Children 16.2: 19–36.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1353/foc.2006.0012E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Reiterates the relatively high mobility rates for the United States that were found using standard methods. Does not take up possible threats to these conclusions such as measurement errors in coding occupations.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • DiPrete, T. A., and D. B. Grusky. 1990. Structure and trend in the process of stratification for American men and women. American Journal of Sociology 96.1: 107–143.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1086/229494E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Responds to concerns that trends of weakening ascription may be diminishing if a multilevel model of changes is fitted across fourteen years of GSS. While the exercise involves considerable ingenuity, the sample sizes are modest and conclusions need to be tempered accordingly. The case for declining ascription is mixed, e.g., it requires generous interpretation of contrary coefficients.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Featherman, D., and R. Hauser. 1978. Opportunity and change. Studies in Population. New York: Academic Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            Opens with a review of modernization arguments as a guide to changes. Chapter 5 lays out further arguments and presents highly detailed evidence. The two samples, OCG-I and the replicate OCG-II, are used fully so that conclusions are based on multiple illustrations. The numerical contrasts recording changes are modest, often subtle, and turn on complex statistical treatments.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Goldthorpe, J. H., and C. Mills. 2008. Trends in intergenerational class mobility in modern Britain: Evidence from national surveys, 1972–2005. National Institute Economic Review 205.1: 83–100.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1177/0027950108096591E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Reports a time series obtained by splicing data from different sources and synthesizing class schemata that are deemed sufficiently similar to proceed. Trends are modest and interpreted as negligible.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Rytina, S. 2000. Is occupational mobility declining in the United States? Social Forces 78.4: 1227–1276.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.2307/3006174E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Illustrates how the accepted results fail to hold when fixed occupational scales are replaced by estimates of inertia in intergenerational reproduction. Use of OCG-II as a baseline for assessing change in the GSS data demonstrates that estimated inertia predicts outcomes in later data and that rigidity is “non-decreasing and perhaps even increasing.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                Educational Mobility

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Large, rapid expansions of educational capacities took place in many countries in the decades after the World War II. But Boudon 1974 pointed out that expanding educational opportunity did not necessarily entail enhanced opportunities for upward mobility. The outcome would depend on the interplay of more education, upgrades in the occupational distribution, and how persons originating at different ranks responded. Boudon’s theory was formal and represented key features, such as the occupational distribution, as fixed in sizes. As a consequence, the worth of qualifying attributes, such as social background and schooling, turns on the distribution of assets across the population of competitors. In such models, advantage is relative; that is, what matters is how much education one obtains relative to age peers, and not simply whether one exceeds parental levels. In such a scheme, rising levels of education would not necessarily lead to improved individual outcomes. Instead, the possibility existed that increase in education would be spread evenly over levels of advantage; that is, relative advantages across different levels of origin would remain constant even as the total amount of education expanded. This possibility was confirmed when Shavit and Blossfeld 1993 reported such persistent inequality relative to education chances across a wide range of developed countries. This finding was the basis for the attempt in Breen and Goldthorp 1997 to theorize why such persistence would occur, which Goldthorpe 2007 reviews as largely supported by evidence. Ishida, et al. 1995 showed that the educational inheritance, and the role of education in class outcome, was common across countries but varied in magnitude. Pfeffer 2008 generally affirmed the thesis of persistent inequality in educational access. But Breen, et al. 2009 provided evidence against stable educational inequality and proposed that the earlier finding resulted from inadequate sample size.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Boudon, R. 1974. Education, opportunity, and social inequality: Changing prospects in Western society. New York: Wiley.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Models education and occupational rank as ordered categories having sizes. These set contexts for decisions, for example, the “same” one further year of schooling means seeking upward mobility for some and avoiding downward mobility for others. Distinguishes primary effects of background (e.g., differential school performance) and secondary effects, on choices such as whether to proceed or withdraw. See chapter 2 and chapter 7.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Breen, R., and J. Goldthorpe. 1997. Explaining educational differentials: Towards a formal rational action theory. Rationality and Society 9.3: 275–305.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1177/104346397009003002E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Follow up on Boudon’s observations on potential context dependence in decisions about attempting further schooling. This exposes incumbents of different origins to different risks. Identical preferences (including aversion to risk) will then lead to different decisions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Breen, R., R. Luijkx, W. Muller, and R. Pollak. 2009. Nonpersistent inequality in educational attainment: Evidence from eight European countries. American Journal of Sociology 114.5: 1475–1521.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1086/595951E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Challenges the received wisdom that class differentials in educational access have been constant. Both the modeling and the data are different. Provides evidence that the modeling does not supply the difference but that the earlier analyses may have been unable to detect differences due to lesser sample sizes.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Goldthorpe, J. 2007. On sociology. Vol. 2, Illustration and retrospect. 2d ed. Studies in Social Inequality. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Responds to criticisms and reviews evidence with respect to the Breen-Goldthorpe theory.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Ishida, H., W. Muller, and J. M. Ridge. 1995. Class origin, class destination, and education: A cross-national study of ten industrial nations. American Journal of Sociology 101.1: 145–193.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1086/230701E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Notes the similarity in patterns but the differences in strength of association with regard to access to education and its role in allocating adult class membership to persons of varying class origins.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Pfeffer, F. T. 2008. Persistent inequality in educational attainment and its institutional context. European Sociological Review 24.5: 543–565.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1093/esr/jcn026E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Uses log-linear models to examine intergenerational educational inheritance across twenty countries. Stability within country (persistent inequality) is accompanied by large contrasts between countries in degree of educational continuity. Institutional features, notably early sorting and dead-end pathways, are implicated in increased inheritance.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Shavit, Y., and H. P. Blossfeld, eds. 1993. Persistent inequality: Changing educational attainment in thirteen countries. Boulder, CO: Westview.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Concludes that differentials by rank of origin in access to education were little altered by expanding overall educational opportunity. The remaining chapters report the various country studies. See especially chapter 1.

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