Social mobility in Britain: an empirical evaluation of two competing explanations

Saunders, Peter (1997) Social mobility in Britain: an empirical evaluation of two competing explanations. Sociology, 31 (2). pp. 261-288. ISSN 00380385

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Existing data on social mobility in Britain demonstrate a disparity of up to 4:1 in the relative chances of children from different social class backgrounds ending up at the top or bottom of the occupational class system. In an earlier paper, it was argued that such disparities should not necessarily be seen as the result of social advantages or disadvantages associated with different class origins, for they are also consistent with a model of meritocracy in which class differentials in average levels of ability are reflected in the class destinations achieved by people from different social backgrounds. That paper has been criticised, both analytically and empirically, and this paper addresses some of these criticisms through an analysis of data from the National Child Development Study. The analysis shows that ability is an important factor influencing social mobility chances, and through a series of logistic regression and multiple regression models, it demonstrates that meritocratic factors (individual effort and ability) outweigh social advantage/disadvantage factors in predicting the occupational class achieved by over 6,000 men and women by age 33. The paper ends by answering the analytical criticisms made against the earlier paper.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:04
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2012 09:55
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