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1 Individual continuities, social mobility and cumulative inequalities along the life course The example of Germany Steffen Hillmert University of Tübingen.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Individual continuities, social mobility and cumulative inequalities along the life course The example of Germany Steffen Hillmert University of Tübingen."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Individual continuities, social mobility and cumulative inequalities along the life course The example of Germany Steffen Hillmert University of Tübingen

2 2 Overview (1) Primarily descriptive information on occupational mobility in Germany and its change over time -> Long-term inter-cohort comparisons (2) Developments along the life course -> Also: Conceptual links between analyses of intra-generational mobility and... …analyses of co-variation/determination...analyses of (changes in) distributions

3 3 In particular: Cumulative (dis-)advantage and mobility General idea: Small differences in the beginning lead to larger differences later on (Matthew effect, cf. Merton et al.) Mechanisms: Accumulation of resources etc. Here: specific perspective of describing intra-cohort developments of social inequality Links with conventional perspectives of analysis? -> Depends on definitions/measurement concepts...

4 4 Cumulative (dis-)advantage and mobility (1) Collective polarisation: (cross-sectional) intra-cohort differentiation increases over time (-> distribution aspect) (2) Social closure: status changes become increasingly difficult over time -> decreasing mobility rates (-> mobility aspect) (3) Individual-level accumulation: (longitudinal) intra-cohort differentiation increases over time (-> mobility and distribution aspect) -> Intra-generational mobility is one dimension of (2), (partly) a necessary consequence of (1) and directly influences (3)

5 5 Theory Institutional factors that favour cumulative disadvantage: stratified educational/training systems which transfer social inequality to the labour market labour markets which highly rewards individual success (def. 1), but also labour markets which support continuity in employment careers (def. 2, 3)

6 6 Germany since Word War II: Hypotheses Relatively stable systems of education and occupation -> small changes in overall inequality along the life course and across cohorts (1) Clear hierarchical differentiation by origin (esp. through education) (2) Continuous individual accumulation/high risks of long-term exclusion (3) One "case" -> theoretical references / historical changes...

7 7 Data German Life History Study, retrospective surveys of selected birth cohorts Here: West Germany only (More continuous) men's careers only Birth cohort Data collection in... n(Men) Transition to labor market during historical period... Important historical events/trends s/40sWorld War II /50s Immediate Post-war period Two German states Economic miracle Educational expansion Oil crisis Mass unemployment German unification and beyond /60s /70s s /80s s /90s

8 8 Data

9 9 Very different observation windows......two strategies: -> (I) Inter-cohort comparisons of early careers (all cohorts)/ short-term developments along the life course In particular: Transition-rate models (right-censored data) -> (II) Long-term developments along the life course (combined data on and birth cohorts only)

10 10 Data Main dependent variable: occupational status represented by occupational prestige measured according to Treiman (SIOPS) a measure which is readily available for all cohorts Independent variables: age and social origin (and education)

11 11 (I) Inter-cohort comparisons

12 12 Occupational status Range of occupational status (mean +/- 1 std) at the beginning of careers, by cohort Light-coloured bars: First occupation, dark-coloured bars: Occupation at age 30

13 13 Mobility rates in early careers Relative mobility rates (odds ratios) by cohort ( = 1) Upward mobilityDownward mobility

14 14 Inter-generational mobility Proportion (percentages) of men who had a lower status than their fathers at first job, by cohort

15 15 Counter mobility Mens relative chances of upward mobility (odds ratios) when having lower status than father, by cohort

16 16 A simple path model of the labour-market entry process Fathers occupation First occupation Occupation at age 30 Education

17 17 A simple path model of the labour-market entry process Results of inter-cohort comparisons: Degree of overall structuration (i.e., prediction of occupational status at the beginning of careers and later on) remains high No clear trend across cohorts But: marked fluctuations from one cohort to another

18 18 (II) Long-term developments along the life course and only (combined) The three definitions of cumulative advantage...

19 19 (1) Collective polarisation Mean occupational status (and +/- 1 std), by age

20 20 (1) Collective polarisation Range of status (as mean deviations +/- 0.5 std) from the overall mean), by social origin and age

21 21 (2) Individual-level mobility / Social closure Upward mobility: Relative mobility rates (odds ratios), by age and social origin

22 22 (2) Individual-level mobility / Social closure Downward mobility: Relative mobility rates (odds ratios), by age and social origin

23 23 Inter- and intra-cohort mobility Proportion of men who have a lower status than their fathers, by social origin and age

24 24 (3) Individual accumulation Dispersion in accumulated status (as deviations from the mean), by age and social origin (Mean accumulated status and +/- 0.5 std)

25 25 (3) Individual accumulation Dispersion in accumulated status (as deviations from the mean), by age and social origin (Mean accumulated status and +/- 0.5 std)

26 26 Summary (1) Little change in the status distributions at any given point in time (i.e., no collective (cross-sectional) polarisation) (2) Clearly decreasing rates of mobility with age: change of individual occupational increasingly unlikely -> status order becomes consolidated (3) Individual-level accumulation: Steadily cumulating advantage and disadvantage + Clear stratification of attained occupational status by social origin, which persists (or even increases) throughout the careers

27 27 Conclusions Pattern typical for an institutional system characterised by a differentiated educational system and a qualification-based labour market ("insider/outsider") Makes it likely that the impact of social origin is transferred to the labour market through education and has a long-lasting effect on employment careers Historical trends are less clear Members of any single cohort have been affected by very specific and changing conditions

28 28 Conclusions -> Pay more attention to conceptual questions: (Necessary) links between hypotheses from different perspectives (Typical) empirical associations

29 29 Further developments Look at a longer sequence of cohorts including younger cohorts Use inter-national comparisons as a reference Compare with income trajectories


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