Social origin and occupational success at labour market entry in The Netherlands, 1931-80
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SourceActa Sociologica (Oslo), 57, 3, (2014), pp. 253-269
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR SOC
Acta Sociologica (Oslo)
SubjectInequality, cohesion and modernization; Ongelijkheid, cohesie en modernisering
In this article we study some of the overlooked mechanisms of how social origin affects an individual's occupational success at labour market entry. The empirical analysis draws on four Dutch retrospective life-course surveys. The analytical sample consists of 6,416 respondents born in the period 1931-80. The results show intergenerational transmission of occupational status, but the effect of father's occupation on his child's first job has declined over time. Part of the decreased impact of social origin is related to the increased age at first job. Educational expansion prolonged the school career of individuals and increased the age at which they first enter the labour market, when parental control and influence matter less. The effect of level of education has decreased over time too, at an even faster rate. Because of that, a trend from ascription to achievement cannot be confirmed. Furthermore, we found evidence of a weaker impact of social origin on occupational status attainment for the higher educated. The labour market for higher levels of education is more meritocratic, as employers use the degree to which various educational programmes at these levels provide occupation-specific skills to evaluate the labour productivity of potential workers.
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