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The Quest for More and More Education: Implications for Social Mobility

Author

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  • Lindley, Joanne

    () (King's College London)

  • Machin, Stephen

    () (London School of Economics)

Abstract

In this paper, we discuss the quest for more and more education and its implications for social mobility. We document very rapid educational upgrading in Britain over the last thirty years or so and show that this rise has featured faster increases in education acquisition by people from relatively rich family backgrounds. At the same time, wage differentials for the more educated have risen. Putting these two together (more education for people from richer backgrounds and an increase in the payoff to this education) implies increasing within generation inequality and, by reinforcing already existent inequalities from the previous generation, this has hindered social mobility. We also highlight three important aspects that to date have not been well integrated into the social mobility literature: the acquisition of postgraduate qualifications; gender differences; and the poor education performance of men at the lower end of the education distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Lindley, Joanne & Machin, Stephen, 2012. "The Quest for More and More Education: Implications for Social Mobility," IZA Discussion Papers 6581, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6581
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ian Walker & Yu Zhu, 2008. "The College Wage Premium and the Expansion of Higher Education in the UK," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(4), pages 695-709, December.
    2. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan, 2010. "Intergenerational Persistence in Income and Social Class: The Impact of Within-Group Inequality," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 10/230, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    3. Jo Blanden & Stephen Machin, 2013. "Educational Inequality and The Expansion of UK Higher Education," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 60(5), pages 578-596, November.
    4. 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.
    5. Martha J. Bailey & Susan M. Dynarski, 2011. "Gains and Gaps: Changing Inequality in U.S. College Entry and Completion," NBER Working Papers 17633, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Philippe Belley & Lance Lochner, 2007. "The Changing Role of Family Income and Ability in Determining Educational Achievement," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 37-89.
    7. 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.
    8. Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan, 2009. "Family Income and Education in the Next Generation: Exploring income gradients in education for current cohorts of youth," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 09/223, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stephen Machin & Richard Murphy, 2017. "Paying out and crowding out? The globalization of higher education," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(5), pages 1075-1110.
    2. Lindley, Joanne & McIntosh, Steven, 2015. "Growth in within graduate wage inequality: The role of subjects, cognitive skill dispersion and occupational concentration," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 101-111.
    3. Joanne Lindley & Steven Mcintosh, 2017. "Finance Sector Wage Growth and the Role of Human Capital," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 79(4), pages 570-591, August.
    4. Jo Blanden & Lindsey Macmillan, 2014. "Education and Intergenerational Mobility: Help or Hindrance?," CASE Papers case179, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
    5. Jennings, Colin, 2015. "Collective choice and individual action: Education policy and social mobility in England," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PB), pages 288-297.
    6. repec:cep:sticas:/179 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    educational inequality; education; social mobility; wage differentials; inequality; wages;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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