The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Increasing inter-generational social mobility: is educational expansion the answer?

Increasing inter-generational social mobility: is educational expansion the answer?
Increasing inter-generational social mobility: is educational expansion the answer?
Reforms which increase the stock of education in a society have long been held by policy-makers as key to improving rates of intergenerational social mobility. Yet, despite the intuitive plausibility of this idea, the empirical evidence in support of an effect of educational expansion on social fluidity is both indirect and weak. In this paper we use the raising of the minimum school leaving age from 15 to 16 years in England and Wales in 1972 to estimate the effect of educational participation and qualification attainment on rates of intergenerational social class mobility. Because, in expectation, children born immediately before and after the policy was implemented are statistically exchangeable, the difference in the amount of education they received may be treated as exogenously determined. The exogenous nature of the additional education gain means that differences in rates of social mobility between cohorts affected by the reform can be treated as having been caused by the additional education. The data for the analysis come from the ONS Longitudinal Study, which links individual records from successive decennial censuses between 1971 and 2001. Our findings show that, although the reform resulted in an increase in educational attainment in the population as a whole and a weakening of the association between attainment and class origin, there was no reliably discernible increase in the rate of intergenerational social mobility.
0007-1315
512-533
Buscha, Franz
425351f5-9eb4-40fe-b60a-77546e228851
Sturgis, Patrick
b9f6b40c-50d2-4117-805a-577b501d0b3c
Buscha, Franz
425351f5-9eb4-40fe-b60a-77546e228851
Sturgis, Patrick
b9f6b40c-50d2-4117-805a-577b501d0b3c

Buscha, Franz and Sturgis, Patrick (2015) Increasing inter-generational social mobility: is educational expansion the answer? British Journal of Sociology, 66 (3), 512-533.

Record type: Article

Abstract

Reforms which increase the stock of education in a society have long been held by policy-makers as key to improving rates of intergenerational social mobility. Yet, despite the intuitive plausibility of this idea, the empirical evidence in support of an effect of educational expansion on social fluidity is both indirect and weak. In this paper we use the raising of the minimum school leaving age from 15 to 16 years in England and Wales in 1972 to estimate the effect of educational participation and qualification attainment on rates of intergenerational social class mobility. Because, in expectation, children born immediately before and after the policy was implemented are statistically exchangeable, the difference in the amount of education they received may be treated as exogenously determined. The exogenous nature of the additional education gain means that differences in rates of social mobility between cohorts affected by the reform can be treated as having been caused by the additional education. The data for the analysis come from the ONS Longitudinal Study, which links individual records from successive decennial censuses between 1971 and 2001. Our findings show that, although the reform resulted in an increase in educational attainment in the population as a whole and a weakening of the association between attainment and class origin, there was no reliably discernible increase in the rate of intergenerational social mobility.

PDF
BJS_final_May15.pdf - Other
Download (513kB)

More information

Published date: September 2015
Organisations: Social Statistics & Demography

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 367739
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/367739
ISSN: 0007-1315
PURE UUID: a79cff86-e4af-4e80-8178-397f3187a580
ORCID for Patrick Sturgis: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1180-3493

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 09 Sep 2014 09:26
Last modified: 15 Jan 2019 01:33

Export record

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×