Education and Intergenerational Social Mobility in Europe and the United States
Richard Breen, Walter Müller
This volume examines the role of education in shaping rates and patterns of intergenerational social mobility among men and women during the twentieth century. Focusing on the relationship between a person's social class and the social class of his or her parents, each chapter looks at a different country—the United States, Sweden, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland. Contributors examine change in absolute and relative mobility and in education across birth cohorts born between the first decade of the twentieth century and the early 1970s. They find a striking similarity in trends across all countries, and in particular a contrast between the fortunes of people born before the 1950s, those who enjoyed increasing rates of upward mobility and a decline in the strength of the link between class origins and destinations, and later generations who experienced more downward mobility and little change in how origins and destinations are linked. This volume uncovers the factors that drove these shifts, revealing education as significant in promoting social openness. It will be an invaluable source for anyone who wants to understand the evolution of mobility and inequality in the contemporary world.