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Education, Occupation and Social Origin

Education, Occupation and Social Origin

A Comparative Analysis of the Transmission of Socio-Economic Inequalities

Edited by Fabrizio Bernardi and Gabrielle Ballarino

This innovative book takes a comparative approach to the social origin–education–destination triangle (OED), looking at the intergenerational transmission of advantage in 14 countries. The intention is to debate the claim that education is the ‘great social equalizer’. The contributors examine the relation between family background, education and occupational achievement over time and across educational levels, focusing on the relationship between individuals’ social origins and their income and occupational outcomes. It will be of interest to academics and students of social policy and those interested in social inequalities and their reproduction over time.

Chapter 5: Changes in the stratification process in Israel, 1995–2008

Carmel Blank, Eyal Bar-Haim and Yossi Shavit

Subjects: education, education policy, social policy and sociology, education policy, sociology and sociological theory


This chapter focuses on change in the stratification process in Israel between 1995 and 2008. The stratification process (Blau and Duncan 1967) consists of three essential processes: the educational attainment process which affects the level and type of education that people attain; the occupational attainment process which determines the extent to which people attain desirable occupations in the labour market; and finally, the process which determines their income. Studies on educational attainment are concerned with the extent to which it is affected by people’s social origins and whether these effects change over time (e.g. Breen et al. 2009; Mare 1981; Shavit and Blossfeld 1993). Studies on the processes of occupational and income attainment are concerned with the extent to which both are determined by educational attainment, which presumably represents skills (Davis and Moore 1945) and is perceived as a fair criterion for success in the labour market. Many scholars believe that with modernization, occupational and economic attainment are increasingly based on achievement rather than ascription (Treiman 1970). Indeed, an influential study by Hout (1988) finds origin status to affect destination status among workers without a bachelor’s degree, but not to affect it among college graduates. We shall refer to this pattern of results as the Hout hypothesis. It has been tested and supported in analyses of data from several countries (Vallet 2004; Erikson and Jonsson 1998; Breen and Luijkx 2007).

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