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Social Inequality

Nurture, not nature, explains why some societies have more social mobility than others
The question of how life-course outcomes depend on the institution of the family is central to sociology and social demography. Few outcomes are more important in life than one's educational attainment, and a large literature studies how it depends on the family of origin – so-called intergenerational mobility research. In this field there have always been two opposing views. One seeing intergenerational transmission as "mostly in the genes" and thereby difficult to influence by policy levers; another seeing outcomes as heavily dependent on social forces. [...]
Is there a rising risk of more unequal ageing?
Key messages: Inequality in old age is a reflection of individuals’ paths over their entire life course. Younger generations in Europe today are likely to face higher inequality in old age due to less stable labour market conditions and widening inequalities in the distribution of earnings and household income. The reduction of inequalities inside societies must be tackled by measures addressing both intra-generational and intergenerational inequalities. [...]
Inequalities in health are not only caused by biological determinants, but also by social determinants like income or education. One’s own socio-economic position has been shown to often be an important predictor for health and mortality. A recently published article by Jenny Torssander, Heta Moustgaard, Riina Peltonen, Fanny Kilpi and Pekka Martikainen sheds further light on the assumption that not only someone’s own resources affect health and mortality, but the resources of the partner one lives with also play a role. [...]
On November 14, 2017, experts from the realms of research, policy, and civil society met in the Nordic Embassies in Berlin to discuss the topic of "New social vulnerabilities in the Baltic Sea Region." The event – which was kindly hosted the Embassy of Sweden – was organized by the Max Planck Institute of Demographic Research in Rostock, the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Policy in Munich, and Population Europe; in cooperation with the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS). [...]
By Jani Erola and Elina Kilpi-Jakonen
Drawing conclusions of what promotes intergenerational mobility, thus promoting more equal societies, has turned out to be rather difficult. In our edited volume, we argue that an important factor that previous studies have overlooked is compensation. This means that when resources are lacking or have suddenly been lost, some attempts are made to access other resources. These attempts may come from the children, the parents themselves, or other persons nearby, such as grandparents, other extended or new family members, or even neighbours. [...]
Social Inequality Across the Generations provides an innovative perspective on social stratification studies by advancing the theoretical and empirical case for the influence of resource compensation. It examines whether resource compensation is a successful mechanism for social mobility, contrasting it against competing types of resource accumulation such as multiplication. This book is the first to cover extensively the role of compensation in intergenerational attainment – a new and rapidly spreading concept in stratification research. [...]
On 13–17 March 2017, jointly with the Collegio Carlo Alberto and NASP, the ECSR will organize a Spring School: The intergenerational transmission of socio-economic status and inequality: patterns and mechanisms. Collegio Carlo Alberto, Via Real Collegio 30, Moncalieri (Turin), Italy [...]
Early childhood education is essential, but PISA reminds us that secondary education must play a role in achieving equality
by Daniela Vono de Vilhena In 2001, a secondary education policy debate left German society rattled. In December of that year, the OECD published its first Programme for International Student Assessment report. PISA revealed Germany, the economic engine of Europe, to be lagging behind its OECD counterparts in both performance and equality among 15-year-olds. [...]
To reconcile work and family is to improve gender and socioeconomic equality. This means the type of intervention will be just as important as its generosity. Take cash benefits for care services. Intended to provide families with flexibility, evidence suggests they subtly incentivise families to fall back on traditional divisions of household labour. Given cash, families, especially poorer families, tend to engage in more home care for their children. [...]

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