Social Structure and Mobility in Economic Development

By Neil J. Smelser; Seymour Martin Lipset | Go to book overview

7
CHANGES IN RATES AND FORMS OF MOBILITY

NATALIE ROGOFF RAMSΦY, Institute of Sociology, University of Oslo

STUDENTS OF SOCIAL mobility in modern societies customarily make a great deal of the distinction between mobility connected with trends in technology and the division of labor, and mobility independent of such secular trends. The same distinction appeared in the late 19th-century studies by Italian and British researchers applying the ideas of statistics, especially the concept of statistical independence, to the phenomenon of "occupational heredity." It played a prominent role in the studies of the late 1940's and early 1950's under the heading of social distance mobility. And in the latest research, in which statuses are expressed in the form of continuous variables, the coefficient of correlation is used to evaluate the degree to which variation in sons' status is accounted for by variation in fathers' status. Since the coefficient of correlation standardizes for differences in means and standard deviations of fathers' and sons' occupational status -- such differences being due to secular trends in the social and economic structure -- this latest technique also follows the earlier ones in singling out for special attention mobility without the confounding effects of concurrent changes in the division of labor or the system of ranks.1

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1
Examples of the research carried out about the turn of the century are Federico Chessa , La trasmissione erediteria delle professioni ( Torino: Fratelli Bocca, 1912) and Emily Perrin, "On the Contingency between Occupation in the Case of Fathers and Sons", Biometrika, 3 ( 1904), pp. 467-469. Of the studies of social distance mobility, Davis Glass (ed.), Social Mobility in Britain ( London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1954), Gösta Carlsson, Social Mobility and Class Structure ( Lund: CWK Gleerup, 1958) and Natalie Rogoff, Recent Trends in Occupational Mobility ( New York: Free Press of Glencoe, 1953) are representative. Correlation analysis has been introduced in Otis Dudley Duncan and Robert W. Hodge, "Education and Occupational Mobility: A Regression Analysis", American Journal of Sociology, 68 ( May, 1963), pp. 629-644.

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