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Class Ridden or Meritocratic? An Economic Analysis of Recent Changes in Britain

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  • Galindo-Rueda, Fernando

    () (Office of National Statistics)

  • Vignoles, Anna

    () (University of Cambridge)

Abstract

In a meritocratic society an individual's economic success is determined by their ability, not by their parents' socio-economic status. We assess whether meritocracy has increased in both the British education system and labour market. The richness of our longitudinal data enables us to look at the complex inter-relationship between social class, ability, education and labour market outcomes. In Britain the production of human capital (cognitive ability and education) has become less meritocratic and more influenced by social background. Whilst cognitive ability is an important determinant of labour market success, there is only mild support for an increase in its importance.

Suggested Citation

  • Galindo-Rueda, Fernando & Vignoles, Anna, 2002. "Class Ridden or Meritocratic? An Economic Analysis of Recent Changes in Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 677, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp677
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kuehn Zoë & Landeras Pedro, 2014. "The Effect of Family Background on Student Effort," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 14(4), pages 1-67, October.
    2. Erich Battistin & Barbara Sianesi, 2006. "Misreported schooling and returns to education: evidence from the UK," CeMMAP working papers CWP07/06, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    3. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Stephen Machin, 2003. "Changes in Educational Inequality," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 03/079, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    4. Gianni De Fraja & Tania Oliveira & Luisa Zanchi, 2010. "Must Try Harder: Evaluating the Role of Effort in Educational Attainment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 577-597, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    meritocracy; ability; human capital; social class; wages;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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