Trends, covariates and consequences of intergenerational social mobility in post-socialist societies
Title: Trends, covariates and consequences of intergenerational social mobility in post-socialist societies
Author: GUGUSHVILI, Alexi
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2014
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of Political and Social Sciences
This dissertation studies the trends, covariates and consequences of intergenerational social mobility in post-socialist societies. The existing literature does not provide an answer if crossnational differences in social mobility levels are determined by socialist legacies or by the divergent paths these countries followed in their transition from socialist to capitalist system. In addition to the industrialisation thesis and the role of income inequality, I study the implications of political democracy and economic liberalisation for intergenerational status reproduction. Individual-level consequences of mobility are explored using the socialpsychological concept of the self-serving bias in causal attribution, which implies that people are more likely to explain individual success as resulting from their own abilities and efforts. Market-based democratic systems, almost by definition, emphasise the importance of selfdetermination in shaping an individual's life chances. Thus, upwardly mobile groups are expected to show greater support of unequal reward distribution. The hypotheses are tested using multivariate and multilevel statistical methods based on data from the European Values Studies and Life in Transition Survey. Although I find evidence of the decisive role of social origin in predicting educational and occupational attainment, particularly during postsocialism, cross-country variation in intergenerational social mobility can largely be explained by the institutions that were in place immediately after the collapse of the Berlin Wall. The findings suggest that while strong, positive links exist between social mobility and democracy levels in Western Europe, the economic liberalisation that took place in the early 1990s is the strongest predictor of why some post-socialist states have higher social mobility rates than others; subjective perceptions of mobility have stronger implications on attitudes than the objective mobility experience; upwardly mobile individuals do in fact demonstrate more support for inequality, democracy and market economy, but the strength of these links is mediated by macro-contextual variables.
LC Subject Heading: Social mobility -- Europe, Eastern; Post-communism -- Social aspects -- Europe, Eastern
Defence date: 27 February 2014; Examining Board: Professor Fabrizio Bernardi, European University Institute (Co-Supervisor) Professor Martin Kohli, European University Institute/Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (Supervisor) Professor Ellu Saar, Tallinn University Professor Martin K. Whyte, Harvard University.
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