Dr. Colin Mills, Dept. of Sociology, University of Oxford
What do we really know about social class mobility in the UK?
What are the basic facts about intergenerational social class mobility in the UK? Before we can either attempt to explain the facts or decide if a policy response to them is needed, we need to establish what they are. This turns out to be far from straightforward. Different sources and different observational designs produce somewhat different facts. I contrast the results from prospective cohort-based designs, linkage of census data and repeated cross-sections. The latter suggest that until the turn of the 21st Century both absolute and relative rates of class mobility increased. Should we believe that these data capture the outcome of changes in the social processes that produce social class mobility, or can we explain what we appear to see purely in terms of concurrent change in the technology of data capture?
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