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The grandparents effect in social mobility : evidence from British birth cohort studies.

Chan, Tak Wing and Boliver, Vikki (2013) 'The grandparents effect in social mobility : evidence from British birth cohort studies.', American sociological review., 78 (4). pp. 662-678.


Using data from three British birth cohort studies, we examine patterns of social mobility over three generations of family members. For both men and women, absolute mobility rates (i.e., total, upward, downward, and outflow mobility rates) in the partial parents-children mobility tables vary substantially by grandparents’ social class. In terms of relative mobility patterns, we find a statistically significant association between grandparents’ and grandchildren’s class positions, after parents’ social class is taken into account. The net grandparents-grandchildren association can be summarized by a single uniform association parameter. Net of parents’ social class, the odds of grandchildren entering the professional-managerial class rather than the unskilled manual class are at least two and a half times better if the grandparents were themselves in professional-managerial rather than unskilled manual-class positions. This grandparents effect in social mobility persists even when parents’ education, income, and wealth are taken into account.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Social mobility, Grandparents effect, Log-linear models, Prospective cohort studies.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:The final definitive version of this article has been published in the journal American Sociological Review, 78/4, 2013 © American Sociological Association 2013 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the American Sociological Review page: on SAGE Journals Online:
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:24 July 2014
Date of first online publication:August 2013
Date first made open access:No date available

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