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The Role of Social Institutions in Inter-Generational Mobility

Abstract

The primary goal of inter-generational mobility (IGM) research has always been to explain how and why social origins influence peoples’ life chances. This has naturally placed family attributes at centre stage. But the role of social institutions, most notably education systems, as a mediating factor has also been central to IGM theory. Indeed, generations of stratification research were premised on the core assumption that equalizing access to education would weaken the impact of social origins. In theory, policies, institutions, as well as macro-economic and historical context, have been identified as crucial in shaping patterns of social mobility (D’Addio, 2007). But apart from education, empirical research has contributed little concrete evidence on how this occurs.

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