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Making education count: the effects of ethnicity and qualifications on intergenerational social class mobility

Platt, Lucinda ORCID: 0000-0002-8251-6400 (2007) Making education count: the effects of ethnicity and qualifications on intergenerational social class mobility. Sociological Review, 55 (3). pp. 485-508. ISSN 0038-0261

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1467-954X.2007.00715.x


This paper examines the role of social class and ethnic group background in determining individuals' social class destinations. It explores the extent to which these background factors are mediated by educational achievement, and the role of educational qualifications in enabling intergenerational class mobility. To do this, it uses the ONS Longitudinal Study. These data allow us to observe parents' characteristics during childhood for a group of children of different ethnic groups growing up in England and Wales in the same period and who had reached adulthood by 2001. Results show that the influence of class background on these children's subsequent social class position varied with ethnicity: it was important for the majority, even after taking account of educational qualifications, but had a much smaller role to play for the minority groups. The minority groups made use of education to achieve upward mobility, but to greater effect for some groups than for others. Among those without educational qualifications, minority groups suffered an ‘ethnic penalty’ in relation to higher class outcomes; but for Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, this penalty persisted at all levels of education. These findings challenge the notion that a more equal society can be achieved simply through promoting equality of opportunity through education.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
L Education > L Education (General)
JEL classification: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I2 - Education > I28 - Government Policy
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O15 - Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
Z - Other Special Topics > Z1 - Cultural Economics; Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2014 15:13
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2024 04:54

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