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Life Course Risks, Mobility Regimes, and Mobility Consequences: A Comparison of Sweden, Germany and the U.S

  • Thomas A. DiPrete
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    Intragenerational mobility has been a central concern in sociology, especially in the latter half of the 20th century. Most of this analysis has proceeded using measures of social position that are functions of an individual's occupation. This approach has been based on two primary justifications. First, occupational mobility is a key attribute of labor market structure, and the labor market, along with the educational system, is the principal institution responsible for a country's structure of inequality. Second, occupation is an income producing asset that provides an approximate measure of "permanent income" and standard of living. Occupation-based models of social mobility, however, have limitations that arguably have grown during the recent past. Meta-analysis of available evidence for Sweden, western Germany, and the United States concerning occupational mobility, household income mobility, job displacement, union dissolution, and poverty dynamics shows the limitations of the individual-level occupation-based careertrajectory approach to life course mobility. An alternative formulation at the household rather than the individual level is developed that focuses on cross-national variation in the extent to which institutions influence the rate of class-altering events, and the extent to which they mitigate the consequences of these events. The combination of these two institutional processes produces the distinctive characteristics of the mobility regimes of these three countries.

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    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.38557.de/dp255.pdf
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    Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 255.

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    Length: 40 p.
    Date of creation: 2001
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp255
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    1. Burda, Michael C. & Mertens, Antje, 2001. "Estimating wage losses of displaced workers in Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 15-41, January.
    2. Aaberge, Rolf & Björklund, Anders & Jäntti, Markus & Palme, Mårten & Pedersen, Peder & Smith, Nina & Wennemo, Tom, 1996. "Income Inequality and Income Mobility in the Scandinavian Countries Compared to the United States," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 98, Stockholm School of Economics, revised Aug 2002.
    3. Maury Gittleman & Mary Joyce, 1999. "Have family income mobility patterns changed?," Demography, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 299-314, August.
    4. Wiklund, Fredrik, 1999. "Unemployment and Subsequent Wages: Does Gender Matter?," Working Paper Series 1999:5, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    5. Ackum, Susanne, 1991. " Youth Unemployment, Labor Market Programs and Subsequent Earnings," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 93(4), pages 531-43.
    6. Richard V. Burkhauser & John G. Poupore, 1997. "A Cross-National Comparison Of Permanent Inequality In The United States And Germany," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(1), pages 10-17, February.
    7. Wiklund, F., 1999. "Unemployment and Subsequent Wages: Does Gender Matter?," Papers 1999:5, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
    8. Davies, James B. & Shorrocks, Anthony F., 2000. "The distribution of wealth," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 605-675 Elsevier.
    9. Bruce Western & Becky Pettit, 2000. "Incarceration and racial inequality in men's employment," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(1), pages 3-16, October.
    10. Stefan Bender & Christian Dustmann & David Margolis & Costas Meghir, 1999. "Worker displacement in France and Germany," IFS Working Papers W99/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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