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Education and Social Mobility: The Paradox of the 1960s Generation,

By Camille Peugny

Abstract

The difficulties encountered by people born in the 1960s have been illustrated by works which emphasise generational inequalities, in terms of salary or career mobility. Such inequalities, which are more marked for people born at the turn of the 1960s, are also evident when we measure the changing flows of intergenerational mobility in successive birth cohorts. While the proportion of individuals who manage to improve on the situation of their parents is still higher than the proportion of those who do worse, the gap between the two is diminishing: in 2003, there were only 1.4 times more people who increased their social status than those whose social status declined. The falling prospects for social mobility affect children from all social backgrounds. The situation is paradoxical because these generations enjoy unprecedented levels of education. These two contradictory changes call into question the changing importance attached to qualifications over the years as a measure of social status.Social Mobility, Education, Generation

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