Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Rethinking the social consequences of occupational mobility and status discrepancy: New approaches and data
by Zhang, Xiaotian, Ph.D., The University of Chicago, 2008, 121; 3300417
Abstract (Summary)

In decades past in the West, it was commonly thought that increasing social mobility and freer marriage choices would situate people in more discrepant social positions with distinct consequences for a wide array of attitudes and behaviors. Despite these common beliefs, the research literature on these types of assumptions produced mixed findings at best, and eventually led to a lull in research on this type of topic.

This dissertation argues that the lull in attention may have been undeserved. By carefully reviewing the appropriate types of methods to use in approaching the study of status discrepancy and by using a large survey data set, the General Social Survey for most of the years between 1972 and 2004, the dissertation finds significant evidence for many old hypotheses. With respect to intergenerational occupational mobility, the new analysis finds that political views and behavior are shaped by the direction of mobility and that fertility is reduced by mobility. With respect to status discrepancy between husband and wife, the new analysis finds that educational mismatch between husband and wife decreases social participation, trust and marital happiness. A mismatch in religious background (at least for those who are more religious and for men as well) reduces marital happiness. This illustrative set of findings suggests that many of the old questions about status discrepancy in rapidly evolving societies may be ripe for renewed attention.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Laumann, Edward O.
School: The University of Chicago
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 69/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Families & family life, Personal relationships, Sociology
Keywords: Marital happiness, Mobility, Occupational mobility, Social participation, Status inconsistency
Publication Number: 3300417
ISBN: 978-0-549-45057-3
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