Advertisement

Quality & Quantity

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 1347–1367 | Cite as

A multidimensional measure of social origin: theoretical perspectives, operationalization and empirical application in the field of educational inequality research

  • Pia Nicoletta BlossfeldEmail author
Article

Abstract

This article describes the theoretical reasons and empirical operationalization of a multidimensional social origin measure. It is assumed that different parental resources are linked to social inequality through distinct mechanisms. This social origin variable can be used for the analysis of status inconsistencies as well as cumulating and compensating effects of social origin resources on inequality of opportunity. The proposed measure is easy to operationalize and to apply in cross-sectional, longitudinal or cross-national research. A great methodological advantage of the proposed origin measure is that it avoids the problem of multicollinearity that is prevalent in analyses that include various parental resources as separate covariates into a statistical model. To illustrate this social origin measure, we apply it to the field of educational inequality research and use data from the National Educational Panel Study in Germany. However, the approach can be easily generalized to other sociological or economic studies where social inequality is of interest (such as labor market, demographic, political, migration or ethnic research). The illustrative example combines the information of three family resources (parental education, parental class and parental status), but it can be extended to include further family resources such as income or wealth measures.

Keywords

Multidimensional social origin measure CAMSIS Status inconsistencies Cumulating effects Compensating effects 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Funding was provided by the German National Academic Foundation.

References

  1. Baker, D.: The Schooled Society. The Educational Transformation of Global Culture. Stanford University Press, Stanford (2014)Google Scholar
  2. Barone, C., Ruggera, L.: Educational equalization stalled? Trends in inequality of educational opportunity between 1930 and 1980 across 26 European nations. European Societies 20, 1–25 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Becker, R., Blossfeld, H.-P.: Entry of men into the labour market in West Germany and their career mobility (1945–2008). A long-term longitudional analysis identifying cohort, period, and life-course effects- Journal for Labour Market Research 50, 113 (2017)Google Scholar
  4. Betthäuser, B., Bourne, M.: Harmonizing the measurement of social origin, cognitive ability and educational attainment in four British population surveys: NCDS, BCS70, LSYPE and ALSPAC. SOCED Project Data Note 2016-10-11. (2016)Google Scholar
  5. Blake, J.: Family Size and Achievement. University of California Press, Los Angeles (1989)Google Scholar
  6. Blossfeld, P.N.: Changes in inequality of educational opportunity: The long-term development in Germany. Springer, Wiesbaden (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Blossfeld, H.P., Drobnic, S.: Careers of Couples in Contemporary Society: From Male Breadwinner to Dual-Earner Families. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2001)Google Scholar
  8. Blossfeld, H.-P., von Maurice, J., Schneider, T.: The National Educational Panel Study. In: Blossfeld, H.-P., Roßbach, H.-G., von Maurice, J. (eds.) Education as a Lifelong Process. The German National Educational Panel Study, pp. 5–17. VS Verlag, Wiesbaden (2011a)Google Scholar
  9. Blossfeld, H.-P., Roßbach, H.-G., von Maurice, J.: Education as a lifelong process: The German National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) [Special issue]. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft 14, 203 (2011b)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Blossfeld, P.N., Blossfeld, G., Blossfeld, H.-P.: Educational expansion and inequalities in educational opportunity: Long term changes for East and West Germany. Eur. Sociol. Rev. 31, 144–160 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bottero, W., Lambert, P.S., Prandy, K., McTaggart, S.: Occupational structures. The stratification of social interactions. In: Robson, K., Sanders, C. (eds.) Quantifying Theory: Pierre Bourdieu. Springer, Wiesbaden (2009)Google Scholar
  12. Boudon, R.: Education, Opportunity, and Social Inequality: Changing Prospects in Western Society. Wiley, New York (1974)Google Scholar
  13. Bourdieu, R.: Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (1984)Google Scholar
  14. Brauns, H., Steinmann, S.: Educational reform in France, West-Germany and the United Kingdom: updating the CASMIN educational classification. Zuma Nachrichten 23, 7–44 (1999)Google Scholar
  15. Breen, R., Luijkx, R., Müller, W., Pollak, R.: Nonpersistent inequality in educational attainment: evidence from eight European Countries. Am. J. Sociol. 114, 1475–1521 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Buchholz, S., Pratter, M.: Wer profitiert von alternativen Bildungswegen? Alles eine Frage des Blickwinkels! Eine systemaische Rekonstruktion des Effektes sozialer Herkunft für alternative Wege zur Hochschulreife. Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 69, 409–435 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Buchholz, S., Schier, A.: New game, new chance? Social inequalities and upgrading secondary school qualifications in West Germany. Eur. Sociol. Rev. 31, 603–615 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Buis, M.L.: The composition of family background: the influence of the economic and cultural resources of both parents on the offspring’s educational attainment in the Netherlands between 1939 and 1991. Eur. Sociol. Rev. 29, 593–602 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Buis, M. L.: Combining information from multiple variables using models for causal indicators. (2014). http://www.maartenbuis.nl/wp/prop.pdf. Accessed 21 June 2018
  20. Bukodi, E., Bourne, M., Betthäuser, B.: Wastage of talent? Social origins, cognitive ability and educational attainment in Britain. Adv. Life Course Res. 34, 34–42 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Bukodi, E., Goldthorpe, J.H.: Decomposing ‘social origins’: The effects of parents’ class, status, and education on the educational attainment of their children. Eur. Sociol. Rev. 29, 1024–1039 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Bukodi, E., Dex, S., Goldthorpe, J.H.: The conceptualization and measurement of occupational hierarchies: a review, a proposal and some illustrative analyses. Qual. Quant. 45, 623–639 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Chan, T.W.: Social Status and Cultural Consumption. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Chan, T.W., Goldthorpe, J.H.: Class and status. The conceptual distinction and its empirical relevance. Am. Soc. Rev. 72, 512–532 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Di Stasio, V., Bol, T., Van de Werfhorst, H.G.: What makes education positional? Institutions, overeducation and the competiton for jobs. Res. Soc. Stratif. Mobil. 43, 53–63 (2016)Google Scholar
  26. Engzell, P.: Intergenerational Persistence and Ethnic Disparities in Education. Dissertation. Stockholm University (2016)Google Scholar
  27. Erikson, R.: Is it enough to be bright? Parental background, cognitive ability and educational attainment. Eur. Soc. 18, 117–135 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Erikson, R.: Social class of men, women and families. Sociology 18, 500–514 (1984)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Erikson, R., Goldthorpe, J.H.: The Constant Flux: A Study of Class Mobility in Industrial Societies. Oxford University Press, Oxford (1992)Google Scholar
  30. Erikson, R., Goldthorpe, J.H.: Social class, family background, and intergenerational mobility: a comment on Mcintosh and Munk. Eur. Econ. Rev. 53, 118–120 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Erikson, R., Jonsson, J.O.: Explaining class inequality in education: the Swedish test case. In: Erikson, R., Jonsson, J.O. (eds.) Can Education be Equalized? The Swedish Case in Comparative Perspective, pp. 1–63. Westview Press, Boulder (1996)Google Scholar
  32. Ermisch, J., Francesconi, M.: Family matters: impacts of family background on educational attainments. Economica 68, 137–156 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Erola, J., Kilpi-Jakonen, E.: Compensation and other forms of accumulation in intergenerational social inequality. In: Erola, J., Kilpi-Jakonen, E. (eds.) Social Inequality Across the Generations. The Role of Compensation and Multiplication in Resource Accumulation, pp. 3–24. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham (2017)Google Scholar
  34. Gambetta, D.: Where They Pushed or Did they Jump? Individual Decision Mechanisms in Education. Westview Press, Boulder (1996)Google Scholar
  35. Goldthorpe, J.H.: Back to class and status: or why a sociological view of social inequality should be reasserted. Rev. Esp. Investig. Soc. 137, 201–216 (2012)Google Scholar
  36. Goldthorpe, J.H.: Analysing social inequality: a critique of two recent contributions from economics and epidemiology. Eur. Sociol. Rev. 26, 731–744 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Goldthorpe, J.H.: Two oppositions in studies of class: a reflection. In: Lareau, A., Conley, D. (eds.) Social Class. How Does It Work, pp. 350–354. Russell Sage Foundation, New York (2008)Google Scholar
  38. Goldthorpe, J.H.: Social class and the differentiation of employment contracts. In: Goldthorpe, J.H. (ed.) On Sociology. Numbers, Narratives, and the Integration of Research and Theory, pp. 206–229. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2000)Google Scholar
  39. Goldthorpe, J.H.: Class analysis and the reorientation of class theory: the case of persisting differentials in educational attainment. Br. J. Sociol. 47, 481–505 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Goldthorpe, J.H., McKnight, A.: The economic basis of social class. In: Morgan, S.L., Grusky, D.B., Fields, G.S. (eds.) Mobility and Inequality. Stanford University Press, Stanford (2006)Google Scholar
  41. Goldthorpe, J.H., Hope, K.: Occupational grading and occupational prestige. In: Hope, K. (ed.) The Analysis of Social Mobility. Methods and Approaches, pp. 19–79. Oxford University Press, Oxford (1972)Google Scholar
  42. Hausner, K.-H., Söhnlein, D., Weber, B., Weber, E.: Bessere Chancen mit mehr Bildung. IAB-Kurzbericht No. 11 (2015)Google Scholar
  43. Hillmert, S., Jacob, M.: Social inequality in higher education: Is vocational education a pathway to or away from university? Eur. Sociol. Rev. 19, 319–334 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Jaeger, M.M.: Educational mobility across three generations: the changing impact of parental social class, economic, cultural and social capital. Eur. Soc. 9, 527–550 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lazarsfeld, P.F.: Interchangeability of indices in the measurement of economic influences. J. Appl. Psychol. 23, 33–45 (1939)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Marks, G.N.: Issues in the conceptualisation and measurement of socioeconomic background: do different measures generate different conclusions? Soc. Indic. Res. 104, 225–251 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mayer, K.-U., Schnettler, S., Aisenbrey, S.: The process and impacts of educational expansion: Findings from the German Life History Study. In: Hadjar, A., Becker, R. (eds.) Expected and Unexpected Consequences of the Educational Expansion in Europe and the US. Theoretical Approaches and Empirical Findings in Comparative Perspective, pp. 27–47. Haupt Verlag, Bern (2009)Google Scholar
  48. Mayer, K.-U.: Statushierarchie und Heiratsmarkt. University of Mannheim, Habilitation (1977)Google Scholar
  49. Meraviglia, C., Buis, M.L.: Class, status, and education: the influence of parental resources on IEO in Europe, 1893–1987. Int. Rev. Soc. Res. 5, 35–60 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Minello, A., Blossfeld, H.-P.: From mother to daughter: changes in intergenerational educational and occupational mobility in Germany. Int. Stud. Sociol. Educ. 24, 65–84 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Müller, W.: Klassenlagen und soziale Lagen in der Bundesrepublik. In: Handl, J., Mayer, K.-U., Müller, W. (eds.) Klassenlagen und Sozialstruktur, pp. 21–100. Campus, Frankfurt am Main (1977)Google Scholar
  52. Müller, W., Pollak, R.: Weshalb gibt es so wenige Arbeiterkinder in Deutschlands Universitäten? In: Becker, R., Lauterbach, W. (eds.) Bildung als Privileg. Erklärungen und Befunde zu den Ursachen der Bildungsungleichheit., pp. 305–341. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden (2010)Google Scholar
  53. Müller, W., Shavit, Y.: The institutional embeddedness of the stratification process. A comparative study of qualifications and occupations in thirteen countries. In: Shavit, Y., Müller, W. (eds.) From School to Work: A Comparative Study of Educational Qualifications and Occupational Destinations, pp. 1–48. Clarendon Press, Oxford (1998)Google Scholar
  54. Müller, W., Haun, D.: Bildungsungleichheit im sozialen Wandel. KZfSS Kölner Zeitschrift Für Soziologie Und Sozialpsychologie 46, 1–42 (1994)Google Scholar
  55. Müller, W., Steinmann, S., Schneider, R.: Bildung in Europa. In: Hradil, S., Immerfall, S. (eds.) Die westeuropäischen Gesellschaften im Vergleich, pp. 177–245. Leske + Budrich, Opladen (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Müller, N., Pforr, K., Hochman, O.: The effect of parental wealth on children’s educational decisions in Germany: compensation or demotivation? Open science framework. www.osf.io/vrfsd/ (2017)
  57. Pfeffer, F.T.: Persistent inequality in educational attainment and its Institutional context. Eur. Sociol. Rev. 24, 543–565 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Prandy, K., Lambert, P.: Marriage, social distance and the social space: an alternative derivation and validation of the Cambridge Scale. Sociology 37, 397–411 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Reimer, D., Schindler, S.: Soziale Ungleichheit und differenzierte Ausbildungsentscheidungen beim Übergang zur Hochschule. In: Becker, B., Reimer, D. (eds.) Vom Kindergarten bis zur Hochschule. Die Generierung von ethnischen und sozialen Disparitäten in der Bildungsbiographie, pp. 251–283. Vs Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Roth, T.: Interpersonal influences on educaitonal expectations: New evidence for Germany. Res. Soc. Stratif. Mobil. 48, 68–84 (2017)Google Scholar
  61. Saar, E., Helemäe, J.: The role of economic and cultural resources in the intergenerational transmission of education in Estonia. In: Erola, J., Kilpi-Jakonen, E. (eds.) Social Inequality Across the Generations. The Role of Compensation and Multiplication in Resource Accumulation, pp. 27–47. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham (2017)Google Scholar
  62. Schimpl-Neimanns, B.: Soziale Herkunft und Bildungsbeteiligung. KZfSS Kölner Zeitschrift Für Soziologie Und Sozialpsychologie 52, 636–669 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Schmillen, A., Stüber, H.: Bildung lohnt sich ein Leben lang. IAB-Kurzbericht No. 1 (2014)Google Scholar
  64. Shavit, Y., Park, H.: Introduction to the special issue: education as a positional good. Rese. Soc. Stratif. Mobil. 43, 1–3 (2016)Google Scholar
  65. Sorensen, A.: Women, family and class. Ann. Rev. Sociol. 20, 27–45 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Von Maurice, J., Blossfeld, H.-P., Roßbach, H.-G.: The National Educational Panel Study: Milestones of the Years 2006–2015. In: Blossfeld, H.-P., von Maurice, J., Bayer, M., Skopek, J. (eds.) Methodological Issues of Longitudinal Surveys, pp. 3–18. Springer Fachmedien, Wiesbaden (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Weber, M.: Wirtschaft ud Gesellschaft. J. C. B. Mohr, Tübingen (1976)Google Scholar
  68. Wippler, R.: Kulturelle Ressourcen, gesellschaftlicher Erfolg und Lebensqualität. In: Giesen, B., Haferkamp, H. (eds.) Soziologie der sozialen Ungleichheit, pp. 221–254. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden (1987)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Wright, E.O.: Women in the class structure. Polit. Soc. 17, 35–66 (1989)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für SoziologieUniversität LeipzigLeipzigGermany

Personalised recommendations