A Broken Social Elevator? How to Promote Social Mobility

image of A Broken Social Elevator? How to Promote Social Mobility

This report provides new evidence on social mobility in the context of increased inequalities of income and opportunities in OECD and selected emerging economies. It covers the aspects of both social mobility between parents and children and of personal income mobility over the life course, and their drivers. The report shows that social mobility from parents to offspring is low across the different dimensions of earnings, education, occupation and health, and that the same prevails for personal income mobility over the life course. There is in particular a lack of mobility at the bottom and at the top of the social ladder – with “sticky floors” preventing upward mobility for many and “sticky ceilings” associated with opportunity hoarding at the top. The lack of social mobility has economic, societal and political consequences. This report shows that there is space for policies to make societies more mobile and protect households from adverse income shocks. It discusses the options and measures that policy makers can consider how to improve social mobility across and within generations.

English Also available in: French

How parental background affects chances early in life: The transmission of health and educational outcomes

This chapter studies intergenerational mobility in health and educational outcomes. In the first part, the chapter looks at how parents’ socio-economic characteristics influence the health status of their offspring and analyses intergenerational persistence in self-assessed health and health behaviour. It compares the parents’ health status with other determinants of children’s health. In the second part, the chapter considers intergenerational educational mobility. It analyses upward and downward mobility in educational attainment for children compared to their parents, and looks at movements across educational groups depending on parental education. Finally, it assesses the respective roles of parental background, individual attitudes and various school and school policy effects for educational outcomes.

English Also available in: French


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