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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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Social Mobility in the Twentieth Century in Europe and the United States

Social Mobility in the Twentieth Century in Europe and the United States

Chapter:
(p.251) Chapter Eleven Social Mobility in the Twentieth Century in Europe and the United States
Source:
Education and Intergenerational Social Mobility in Europe and the United States
Author(s):

Richard Breen

Walter Müller

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9781503610163.003.0011

Summarizing the findings of the country chapters, this chapter addresses the question: How did intergenerational social mobility change over cohorts born in the first two-thirds of the twentieth century? What role, if any, did education play in this? As education expanded, its association to class origins weakened, especially among earlier-born cohorts—a strong indication that growing education equalization may have been important in increasing social fluidity. There is also a strong link between upward mobility and social fluidity, the former mostly driven by the expansion of higher-level white-collar jobs. Educational expansion, equalization, and rapid structural change in the US and European economies all contributed to greater social fluidity among people born before the middle of the century. For people born later, rates of downward mobility have increased: however, despite the lack of further educational equalization and less-pronounced structural change, social fluidity has remained unchanged.

Keywords:   intergenerational social mobility, absolute mobility, relative mobility, social fluidity, structural change, educational expansion, educational equalization, Europe, United States

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