Presenter: Richard Breen (University of Oxford).
When: Friday 11th November, 11.00-12.30.
Where: Seminar Room 3, Badia Fieosolana.
Abstract: I present some findings about the role of education in social mobility over the course of the 20th century, drawing on unpublished country analyses from a forthcoming volume, Education and Social Mobility in Europe and the United States (edited by Richard Breen, Ruud Luijkx and Walter Müller). Among most of the countries we considered, social fluidity (or equality in mobility outcomes between people from different social origins) increased at some times during the 20th century. We find that this was driven by cohort replacement, rather than by period change. Furthermore, the expansion of educational provision, and its more equal distribution with respect to social origins, were important factors behind cohort increases in social fluidity. In some countries educational change accounted for all the change in relative social mobility; elsewhere other factors played a role. But the impact of educational change on fluidity was only possible because of large changes that took place in the class structures of these countries, particularly in the immediate post-World War II years. As structural change became less marked so the rate of growth in social fluidity diminished and, in many cases, ceased.