Chapter 1 of the text criticizes Inequality, a widely noted book by Christopher Jencks and associates. After my text was written, Jencks and associates published a new book, Who Gets Ahead?,1 which appears to argue for the importance of socioeconomic origins, in an apparent reversal of the position taken in Inequality.
Inequality argued that social origins were not very important, stating that "the role of a father's family background 2 in determining his son's status is surprisingly small, at least compared to most people's preconceptions" (p. 179). Who Gets Ahead? appears to provide a radically revised assessment of the role of origins. For example, Who Gets Ahead? concludes that "[family] background exerts a larger influence on economic outcomes than past research has suggested...." (p. 229).____________________