Overeducation and Social Generations in France

Louis Chauvel

in Growing Gaps

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199732180
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199866182 | DOI:
Overeducation and Social Generations in France

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This chapter presents a comparative theory and an empirical analysis of inequalities in economic opportunities and returns to education across birth cohorts. It focuses on the consequences of economic slowdowns in different types of welfare regimes and analyzes how discontinuities in economic trends produce diverse effects on the balance between birth cohorts. It shows that conservative (France) and the familialistic (Italy) welfare regimes are marked by strong inter-cohort inequalities at the expense of younger social generations. In contrast, social-democratic (Denmark) and liberal (US) systems show less inter-cohort redistribution of resources. As far as education goes, while there is no clear decline in the return to education in the latter countries, the former nations show strong drops in the value of intermediate levels of education. This means that national trajectories of social change have diverged, and we should anticipate the long-term consequences of these divergences.

Keywords: welfare regimes; educational inequality; economic opportunity; educational opportunity; social change

Chapter.  10279 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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