Social Mobility in West Germany: The Long Arms of History Discovered?

Walter Müller and Reinhard Pollak

in Social Mobility in Europe

Published in print August 2004 | ISBN: 9780199258451
Published online November 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601491 | DOI:
 Social Mobility in West Germany: The Long Arms of History Discovered?

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Provides a comprehensive analysis of the development of intergenerational mobility in West Germany pursuing both a period and a cohort perspective. Concerning the evolution of social fluidity in the period from 1976 to 1999 we find indications of a slight, yet not statistically significant, trend towards more social fluidity. A clear and significant increase of social fluidity, however, is found when analysing the mobility patterns of cohorts born between 1920 and 1969. The increase in social fluidity is most probably due to declining class inequalities in educational attainment. The chapter also elaborates the impact on mobility patterns of the turbulent political, social, and economic history of twentieth-century Germany that probably explains the difference between the findings of the period and cohort perspectives.

Keywords: class inequality; education; Germany; immigration; social fluidity; social mobility; World War II

Chapter.  15916 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union

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