A Comparative Analysis of the Transmission of Socio-Economic Inequalities
Edited by Fabrizio Bernardi and Gabrielle Ballarino
This chapter explores answers to the four research questions raised in the introductory chapter to this book, and places them in the Japanese context. The questions are as follows. First, is there a direct effect of origin (family background) on such outcomes as first job, current job and income? Second, has this effect declined over time? Third, does it change across educational qualifications, and in particular is it weaker for college graduates? Fourth, have educational returns declined over time? The first and second questions stem from the theory of modernization, which predicts that as society undergoes the process of modernization, the principle of meritocracy becomes dominant, so that people are emancipated from their family backgrounds. They are evaluated by their performance, not by their origin. If the theory is empirically valid, the direct effect of origin on outcomes should not exist; or it should decline over time, even if it existed previously.
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