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Middle Class: the Empirical Measurement of Intergenerational Social Mobility in Russia


  • Maleva, T.

    (Institute for Social Analysis and Prediction, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Moscow, Russia)

  • Burdyak, A.

    (Institute for Social Analysis and Prediction, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Moscow, Russia)


The article is devoted to the study of intergenerational mobility. We look at the economic and social status progress of young and middle working age people (18-44-year-olds) compared to that of their parents. Among educational, occupational and material-wellbeing characteristics the most significant advancement has occurred in the consumption possibilities (what goods they can afford to buy). At the same time equiprobable answers better / worse to the question on well-being comparison with parents are not supporting the idea of perceived progress in the standard of living. It is shown that educational and occupational intergenerational mobility of women is greater than that for men. Social strata are defined on the basis of wealth, education, occupational and social status. Different strata show various intensity of getting better than their parents. Growth opportunities of middle-class representatives has largely been limited by the highest socio-economic position of their parents. The paper concludes by integral intergenerational mobility index. The index is based on four indicators of respondents' educational, occupational, consumption status and material well-being changes compared to their parents. The integral index shows a small scale positive intergenerational mobility. By the age of 35-44 years, people are much better educated than their parents, they have wider opportunities in consumption, however, improvements in employment status are minimal. The protomiddle stratum shows negative occupational mobility. The shortage of good jobs is an obstacle to the education-to-job transformation for this social strata. Therefore labour market is the main barrier to the middle class growth in Russia. Classification-JEL: I31, J62

Suggested Citation

  • Maleva, T. & Burdyak, A., 2016. "Middle Class: the Empirical Measurement of Intergenerational Social Mobility in Russia," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 62-85.
  • Handle: RePEc:nea:journl:y:2016:i:32:p:62-85

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Daria Popova & Alina Pishniak, 2017. "Measuring Individual Material Well-Being Using Multidimensional Indices: An Application Using the Gender and Generation Survey for Russia," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 130(3), pages 883-910, February.
    2. Song, Jing & Cavusgil, Erin & Li, Jianping & Luo, Ronghua, 2016. "Social stratification and mobility among Chinese middle class households: An empirical investigation," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 646-656.
    3. Hertz Tom & Jayasundera Tamara & Piraino Patrizio & Selcuk Sibel & Smith Nicole & Verashchagina Alina, 2008. "The Inheritance of Educational Inequality: International Comparisons and Fifty-Year Trends," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(2), pages 1-48, January.
    4. Vladimir E. Gimpelson & Galina A. Monusova, 2014. "Perception Of Inequality And Social Mobility," HSE Working papers WP BRP 84/EC/2014, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    5. Maleva, T. & Burdyak, A. & Tyndik, A., 2015. "Middle Classes at Different Stages of Life Course," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 109-138.
    6. Tatyana Klyachko & Vladimir Mau, 2007. "Tendencies in the Development of Higher Professional Education in Russia," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 3, pages 46-64.
    7. Piketty, Thomas, 2000. "Theories of persistent inequality and intergenerational mobility," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 429-476, Elsevier.
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    Cited by:

    1. T. M. Maleva & A. Ya. Burdyak, 2019. "Territorial Mobility of the Russian Population in the Context of Social Dynamics," Regional Research of Russia, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 350-358, October.

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    More about this item


    intergenerational mobility; middle class; education; employment; social mobility; post-Soviet Russia;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion


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