Intergenerational social mobility in Europe

Project outline

It has for long been argued that inequality of economic conditions need not be a matter for great political or social concern as long as intergenerational social mobility remains high. Put it differently, inequality of economic conditions could be seen as more acceptable as long as a high degree of equality of opportunity prevails, that is, as long as individuals’ chances of getting ahead in life would not be unduly conditioned by their social origins in ways over which they have no control. Despite such prominence of the subject in the political and policy arena, we know surprisingly little about cross-national differences in intergenerational social mobility.

This project has three objectives:

(1) we provide a new comparative account of the levels and the patterns of intergenerational social mobility in Europe in the first decade of the 21st century, using a newly constructed dataset;

(2) we investigate over-time changes in intergenerational social mobility and how they relate to changes in macro-economic and macro-social indicators;

(3) we endeavour to explain cross-national differences (or the lack thereof) in intergenerational social mobility.