Social Origins and Labour Market
Stability and Change over Norwegian Birth Cohorts 1950–1969.
Author: Arne Mastekaasa.
European Sociological Review
This article examines to what extent social origins have direct impact on people’s earnings, over and above what is mediated by their educational attainment, and whether such effects have changed over time. Population data on Norwegian birth cohorts from 1950 to 1969 are employed. Parents’ level of education has relatively weak negative effects on earnings. Parents’ earnings have a stronger and positive effect, which is either stable or slightly increasing over the cohorts. Hypotheses based on modernization theory or on theories of a transition to school-mediated social origin effects are rejected.
Further results indicate that choice of field of education does not mediate social origin effects. The direct social origin effects are relatively small for those employed in large organizations and in the public sector; along with other indirect evidence this provides some indication that the direct social origin effects reflect non-meritocratic processes.