ISR Awards

Education’s Contribution to An Open Society

This project investigates the role of education for intergenerational social mobility in the United States across the 20th and 21st century. Educational expansion and changes in inequality in educational opportunities are two major causes for changing levels of social fluidity of U.S. society. I assess the relative importance of these two trends and distinguish cohort changes from period effects to provide new insights for educational policies that aim at increasing the role of education in conferring opportunities. I draw on nationally representative data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (1986-1988), the General Social Survey (1988-2008), and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (2009) and apply a recently developed new decomposition method that provides a precise but parsimonious way of describing trends in U.S. education and their implications for today?s level of social mobility.