The Quest for More and More Education: Implications for Social Mobility

35 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2012

See all articles by Joanne Lindley

Joanne Lindley

University of Nottingham - School of Economics

Stephen J. Machin

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP); London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics

Abstract

In this paper, we discuss the quest for more and more education and its implications for social mobility. We document very rapid educational upgrading in Britain over the last thirty years or so and show that this rise has featured faster increases in education acquisition by people from relatively rich family backgrounds. At the same time, wage differentials for the more educated have risen. Putting these two together (more education for people from richer backgrounds and an increase in the payoff to this education) implies increasing within generation inequality and, by reinforcing already existent inequalities from the previous generation, this has hindered social mobility. We also highlight three important aspects that to date have not been well integrated into the social mobility literature: the acquisition of postgraduate qualifications; gender differences; and the poor education performance of men at the lower end of the education distribution.

Keywords: education, wages, inequality, social mobility, educational inequality, wage differentials

JEL Classification: J24, J31

Suggested Citation

Lindley, Joanne and Machin, Stephen J., The Quest for More and More Education: Implications for Social Mobility. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6581, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2080325

Joanne Lindley (Contact Author)

University of Nottingham - School of Economics ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/economics/staff/details/joanne_lindley.htm

Stephen J. Machin

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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