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Education and Intergenerational Social Mobility in Europe and the United States$
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Richard Breen and Walter Müller

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781503610163

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9781503610163.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM STANFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Stanford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

The Swiss El Dorado?

The Swiss El Dorado?

Education and Social Mobility in Twentieth-Century Switzerland

(p.150) Chapter Seven The Swiss El Dorado?
Education and Intergenerational Social Mobility in Europe and the United States

Julie Falcon

Stanford University Press

Until fairly recently little was known about trends in intergenerational social mobility in Switzerland and the mediating role of education in this process. With lasting high standards of living, big shares of vocational education and training (VET), and wide development of tertiary sector, Switzerland constitutes an interesting case to test modernization theory. Yet this analysis, drawn from a tailor-made dataset constructed from nineteen surveys representative of the Swiss population and collected between 1975 and 2013, leads us to reject expectations from this theory. While educational reforms have contributed to increase access to postcompulsory education, the influence of social background on educational attainment and on occupational destiny has not substantially declined throughout the twentieth century in Switzerland. In light of all this, and despite its economic prosperity and its high standards of living, Switzerland remains far from being a social mobility El Dorado.

Keywords:   social mobility, Switzerland, vocational education and training (VET), inequality of opportunity, social change, modernization theory, gender, cohort analysis, 20th-century

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