Intergenerational social mobility during modernization: A micro-level study of two communities in southern Sweden 1830-1968

Martin Dribe, Jonas Helgertz, Ekhluse Bart van de Putte

Research output: Working paper

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to study socioeconomic attainment and mobility in a confined geographic area over a period of more than 150 years. More specifically, using longitudinal individual level data from five parishes in southern Sweden, the paper focuses on how patterns of intergenerational social mobility changed from the early 1800s to 1968. In contrast to most previous research we are able to study an uninterrupted time period in which Sweden transformed from a pre-industrial to a mature industrial society. Based on theory and previous research we test different hypotheses linking changing social mobility patterns to the industrialization process by studying trends in two different areas. The analysis provides no uniform support for an immediate connection between industrialization and improved conditions for social mobility (upwards) and entry into the middle class. The chances of upward mobility clearly increased over time, but it is not equally clear that this development was stronger in industrializing areas than in rural ones. Moreover, the change seems to have connected to the period after the industrial breakthrough when Swedish industrial society matured and developed into a welfare state society. Finally, we find only weak support for the hypothesis that more siblings were detrimental to social mobility, and no support at all for the hypotheses that such an effect grew stronger with industrialization.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2012

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