IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/inq/inqwps/ecineq2013-312.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Social mobility at the top: Why are elites self-reproducing?

Author

Listed:
  • Elise S. Brezis

    () (Azrieli Center for Economic Policy (ACEP), Bar-Ilan University, Israel)

  • Joel Hellier

    () (Department of Economics, EQUIPPE, Univ. de Lille and LEMNA, Univ. de Nantes, France)

Abstract

This paper proposes an explanation for the decrease in social mobility that has occurred in the last two decades in a number of advanced economies, as well as for the divergence in mobility dynamics across countries. Within an intergenerational framework, we show that a two-tier higher education system with standard and elite universities generates social stratification, high social immobility and self-reproduction of the elite. Moreover, we show that the higher the relative funding for elite universities, the higher the elite self-reproduction, and the lower social mobility. We also analyse the impacts of changes in the weight of the elite and of the middle class upon social mobility. Our findings provide theoretical bases for the inverted-U profile of social mobility experienced in several countries since World War II and to the ``Great Gatsby Curve'' relating social mobility to inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Elise S. Brezis & Joel Hellier, 2013. "Social mobility at the top: Why are elites self-reproducing?," Working Papers 312, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  • Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2013-312
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.ecineq.org/milano/WP/ECINEQ2013-312.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan, 2007. "Accounting for Intergenerational Income Persistence: Noncognitive Skills, Ability and Education," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(519), pages 43-60, March.
    2. Ben-Halima, B. & Chusseau, N. & Hellier, J., 2014. "Skill premia and intergenerational education mobility: The French case," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 50-64.
    3. Benabou, Roland, 1994. "Human capital, inequality, and growth: A local perspective," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 817-826, April.
    4. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
    5. Nicoletti Cheti & Ermisch John F, 2008. "Intergenerational Earnings Mobility: Changes across Cohorts in Britain," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(2), pages 1-38, January.
    6. Benabou, Roland, 1996. "Heterogeneity, Stratification, and Growth: Macroeconomic Implications of Community Structure and School Finance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 584-609, June.
    7. Nathalie Chusseau & Joël Hellier, 2011. "Educational Systems, Intergenerational Mobility and Social Segmentation," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 8(2), pages 203-233, December.
    8. Nathalie Chusseau & Joël Hellier & Bassem Ben-Halima, 2012. "Education, Intergenerational Mobility and Inequality," Working Papers hal-00993472, HAL.
    9. Graziella Bertocchi and Michael Spagat, 2001. "The Evolution of Modern Educational Systems," Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics 01/4, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London, revised Sep 2001.
    10. Daniel Aaronson & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2005. "Intergenerational economic mobility in the U.S., 1940 to 2000," Working Paper Series WP-05-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    11. Galor, Oded & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1997. "The Distribution of Human Capital and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 93-124, March.
    12. Roland Bénabou, 1996. "Equity and Efficiency in Human Capital Investment: The Local Connection," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 237-264.
    13. Su, Xuejuan & Kaganovich, Michael, 2012. "College Expansion and Curriculum Choice," Working Papers 2012-25, University of Alberta, Department of Economics, revised 01 Apr 2015.
    14. Loury, Glenn C, 1981. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Distribution of Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 843-867, June.
    15. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1979. "An Equilibrium Theory of the Distribution of Income and Intergenerational Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1153-1189, December.
    16. Barham, Vicky & Boadway, Robin & Marchand, Maurice & Pestieau, Pierre, 1995. "Education and the poverty trap," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 1257-1275, August.
    17. Anders Björklund & Markus Jäntti, 2000. "Intergenerational mobility of socio-economic status in comparative perspective," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 26, pages 3-32.
    18. B. Ben Halima & N. Chusseau & J. Hellier, 2013. "Skill Premia and Intergenerational Skill Transmission: The French Case," Working Papers 285, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    19. Durlauf, Steven N., 1994. "Spillovers, stratification, and inequality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 836-845, April.
    20. Durlauf, Steven N, 1996. "A Theory of Persistent Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 75-93, March.
    21. William Blankenau & Steven Cassou & Beth Ingram, 2007. "Allocating Government Education Expenditures Across K-12 and College Education," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 31(1), pages 85-112, April.
    22. Easterly, William, 2001. "The Middle Class Consensus and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 317-335, December.
    23. Roland Benabou, 1993. "Workings of a City: Location, Education, and Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 619-652.
    24. Su, Xuejuan, 2006. "Endogenous determination of public budget allocation across education stages," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 438-456, December.
    25. Su, Xuejuan, 2004. "The allocation of public funds in a hierarchical educational system," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 2485-2510, December.
    26. Fields, Gary S & Ok, Efe A, 1999. "Measuring Movement of Incomes," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(264), pages 455-471, November.
    27. Wojciech Kopczuk & Emmanuel Saez & Jae Song, 2010. "Earnings Inequality and Mobility in the United States: Evidence from Social Security Data Since 1937," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 91-128.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Does educational stratification put toffs at the top?
      by crowleymarkj in NEP-HIS blog on 2014-02-25 21:32:10
    2. Elite universities and social mobility
      by nawmsayn in ZeeConomics on 2015-02-08 20:26:59

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Su, Xuejuan & Kaganovich, Michael, 2012. "College Expansion and Curriculum Choice," Working Papers 2012-25, University of Alberta, Department of Economics, revised 01 Apr 2015.
    2. Hellier, Joël, 2017. "Stratified higher education,social mobility at the top and efficiency: The case of the French ‘Grandes écoles’," MPRA Paper 76724, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Nathalie Chusseau & Joel Hellier, 2014. "Globalization and social segmentation," Working Papers 339, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    4. Michael Kaganovich & Xuejuan Su, 2016. "College Curriculum, Diverging Selectivity, and Enrollment Expansion," CESifo Working Paper Series 6122, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Elite; higher education; selection; social mobility; social stratification.;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2013-312. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Maria Ana Lugo). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/ecineea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.