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What is the impact of educational systems on social mobility across Europe? A comparative approach

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  • Pedro Abrantes

    ()

  • Manuel Abrantes

    ()

Abstract

Education is reasonably expected to enhance intergenerational social mobility. However, the extent to which educational systems foster or otherwise constrain social mobility remains controversial. In this paper, data from the European Social Survey covering 22 countries is analysed in order to assess social mobility in the second half of the 20th Century. Variation across five cohesive regional clusters is examined in detail. Results confirm increasing rates of social mobility in Europe and their close relation to massive structural shifts. The erosion of the education-occupation linkage presents a current threat to this trend. Considering formal credentials only, the most equalitarian educational systems are to be found in the United Kingdom and Ireland, but their ability to allocate individuals in the occupational structure is lower than in the other regions. Scandinavian systems show higher chances of social mobility through education, while Mediterranean systems present lower fluidity rates in both the background-education link (like Eastern European countries) and the education-occupation link (like the UK & Ireland). Gender and migration are identified as key factors to explain these differences.

Suggested Citation

  • Pedro Abrantes & Manuel Abrantes, 2012. "What is the impact of educational systems on social mobility across Europe? A comparative approach," Working Papers wp012012, Socius, Socio-Economics Research Centre at the School of Economics and Management (ISEG) of the Technical University of Lisbon.
  • Handle: RePEc:soc:wpaper:wp012012
    as

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    File URL: http://pascal.iseg.utl.pt/~socius/RePEc/soc/wpaper/wp012012.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bastos, Amélia & Casaca, Sara F. & Nunes, Francisco & Pereirinha, José, 2009. "Women and poverty: A gender-sensitive approach," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 764-778, October.
    2. Aslan Zorlu & Joop Hartog, 2005. "The effect of immigration on wages in three european countries," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 18(1), pages 113-151, December.
    3. Frank Tubergen & Herman Werfhorst, 2007. "Postimmigration investments in Education: a Study of Immigrants in the Netherlands," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 44(4), pages 883-898, November.
    4. repec:aia:aiaswp:wp64 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    education; educational systems; gender; migration; social mobility;

    JEL classification:

    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J70 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - General
    • Y10 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Data: Tables and Charts - - - Data: Tables and Charts
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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