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Geographical mobility and occupational achievement (with G.Ballarino)

Stratification research sees societies as hierarchically ordered, such as ladders on whose steps individuals move (Fischer et al. 1997). Empirical research focuses on the transition of individuals in and out of positions hierarchically ordered in the occupational structure of a given territorial unit (typically a country). However, individuals also move along other dimensions, corresponding to other factors of differentiation of social positions. They can also move horizontally, for instance moving geographically, among different social structures (Sorokin 1927). Geographical mobility was indeed a core topic for classical studies on stratification and mobility (Lipset e Bendix 1959; Blau e Duncan 1967), as it related to industrialization and urbanism. We study the geographical mobility of Italians during the second half of the 20th century and its relation to status attainment. We use IHLS data, including detailed information concerning life-long geographical mobility collected at the more detailed level, the municipality. We created a new and unique dataset by exploiting this information, overlooked by previous research, and supplementing it with geographical and demographical information at the municipality level. We are interested in the causal net effect of geographical mobility on occupational attainment, defined as 1. the probability to be employed; 2. the probability to enter the service class; 3. the probability to avoid the working class; 4. the probability to avoid a job in the agricultural classes. We run separate analyses for gender, and control for social origin and education. First, we estimate the effect of geographical mobility on occupational achievement with different models (pooled OLS, random-effects and fixed- effects). Second, we interact geographical mobility with social origin and geographical origin, to check whether geographical mobility has a compensation or a boosting effect with respect to both. Third, we estimate a distributed fixed effects model, providing a detailed observation of the process of occupational attainment before and after geographical mobility, thus allowing to discuss the selection process it involves. Fourth, we compare this pattern with the one of those who do not experience geographical mobility, to check whether the latter might alter the hierarchy among social classes.

Internal Migration, Occupational Achievement and Social Mobility. A Life-Course Approach (with R.Impicciatore)

This work analyses the interrelation between migration, student career, job experiences and family formation focusing on the Italian South-to-North internal migration. Empirical analyses firstly describe the life patterns experienced by internal migrants, and then study the selection into different migration trajectories as well as their association with different occupational achievements and social mobility pathways. Analyses are based on longitudinal data from IHLS by means of Sequence Analysis Techniques and Logit Models. Results confirm that different migration trajectories are characterized by a marked selectivity of movers, having a different, even opposite, effects on the individual life chances. Some trajectories create social closure, since they ‘reproduce’ the southern upper classes in North. Other types are more widespread among the lower classes, but they do not guarantee better opportunities of social mobility. Finally, there are forms of mobility representing valid routes of upward mobility for the middle and lower classes.

Family Arrangements and IEO (with R.Guetto)

In the last decades, Western societies have been involved in huge demographical changes: the share of “non-standard” and cohabiting families has increased, women are more and more active in the labour market and, finally, the fertility rates diminished in many Western countries, in parallel to (and because of) the increasing postponement of the transition to parenthood. These changes have obviously affected the social and demographic characteristics of families, which have become more heterogeneous than in the past (Esping-Andersen and Billari, 2015). This work contributes to this literature by studying the association between different family arrangements and Inequality of Educational Opportunities (hereforth, IEO) in Italy. The focus is on the transition towards upper secondary education, considering both the vertical and the horizontal dimension of inequality (Panichella and Triventi, 2014; Guetto and Vergolini, 2017).

Immigration, Family and Fertility (with S.Cantalini)

Migration has a huge demographic impact on European societies, especially when migrant populations have different levels and patterns of fertility, union formation and mortality, contributing to population size and composition. Nevertheless, comparative studies focusing on the association between migration and fertility, and how it evolves during the migration process, are still scarce. This work analyses the fertility of male migrants in six European countries: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands and United Kingdom. Using data from the EU-LFS (2005-2015), results show that migrants are more likely to have at least one child and larger family size than natives, except those coming from Eastern Europe and Central America. Nevertheless, time since migration is a crucial element to explain their fertility: migrants from any country of origin have lower propensities of parenthood immediately after migration, whereas their fertility increases over time spent in the host society. We then find evidence of disruption in the short-run and of socialization once migrants settle in the new society, especially in Southern European countries.

Direct effect of Social Origin on occupational outcomes of Italian university graduates (with M.Triventi and G.Ballarino)

One major finding of social stratification research is that there is a significantly positive association between social origin and status attainment in modern societies and that this is mostly mediated by educational attainment (Blau and Duncan, 1967). Yet several studies showed that social origin had relevant effects over and above what was mediated by education (Breen, 2004; Breen and Jonsson 2005; Mastekaasa 2011), often referred to as ‘direct effect of social origin’ (DESO, Bernardi and Ballarino 2016). In this paper, we focus on the DESO on various early occupational outcomes of Italian university graduates, looking at changes occurred in the decade 2001-2011. This period is interesting to be examined since it has been characterized by an increase of the proportion of graduates, the introduction of a new vertical differentiation of degree programs under the framework of the ‘Bologna Process’, and by worsening conditions of the school-to-work transition of youths. As recently suggested by Torche (2011), the focus on college graduates makes it possible to examine whether a higher education degree represents a kind of ‘liberation’ from social background or, on the contrary, whether the resources associated with social origin continue to play a relevant role even after graduation, in the early stages of labor market career. We will investigate three aspects: 1) the DESO and its changes across successive cohorts of graduates, who attended university and entered the labor market under different institutional and contextual conditions; 2) the role of the type of education attended in higher education (field of study, degree level, specific university) in accounting for differences in early occupational returns; 3) whether and how the relationship between social origin and early occupational outcomes varies across fields of study. On the theoretical ground, we will explore five mechanisms singled out by the literature as producing a DESO (Erikson and Jonsson 1998; Bernardi and Ballarino 2016): differences in productivity; social networks; aspirations; favouritism and, in the case of employers and self-employees, direct inheritance of the family business. The micro-level data used comes from four pooled cross-sectional waves of the ‘Italian Survey on University Graduates’ Transition to Work’, a stratified one-stage sample survey conducted by the Italian National Statistical Institute (ISTAT) in 2004, 2007, 2011 and 2015. This survey collects information on school, university and occupational careers of university graduates, which are interviewed three/four years after their graduation (2001, 2004, 2007 and 2011 respectively). We use both parental education and social class of origin as independent variables defining graduates’ social background. Early occupational outcomes considered include employment one and three/four years after graduation, wages, and the probability of entering the service class. For the first and third research question, we use linear and logistic regression models, according to the specific outcome considered. The second research question is addressed by using decomposition techniques for linear and non-linear models. Following previous research on this topic (Triventi 2013), we expect to find a positive significant effect of social background on various early occupational outcomes, but mostly for access to the service class. Moreover, we could expect increasing inequalities over time. We also hypothesize to find larger effects of social origin in fields of study linked to traditional ‘liberal professions’, such as medicine and law. The results of our study directly speaks to the debate about meritocracy in contemporary societies; in particular, we will provide evidence on a Southern European country, which is known for its lower degree of social mobility across generations (Pisati and Schizzerotto 2004) and comparatively high levels of social inequalities in educational opportunities (Breen et al. 2009).

Educational inequality in Italy in the second half of the 20th century: Why mothers matter (with G.Ballarino and C.Meraviglia)

The definition and measurement of family background is a well-known problem of research on the intergenerational transmission of inequalities. In the case of research on educational inequality, a key issues concerns the choice of which parent to consider when measuring family background. This paper studies the trend of inequality of educational opportunities over cohorts in Italy, checking how it changes with different definition of family background (father-based, mother-based, including both in various ways). We use data from three Multi-purpose surveys conducted by the Italian national statistics institute (Istat) in 1998, 2003 and 2009, covering cohorts from the 1940s to the early 1980s, counting about 60.000 cases. We adopt a transition approach, modeling the probability to achieve a lower secondary (compulsory), upper secondary and tertiary degree, conditional on having made the lower transition. Based on the different expected roles of parents in childrearing, and considering changes therein, we expect the role of mother’s education on the probability to make a transition to be more important in the early transitions. Over cohorts, we expect this difference to decrease, as fathers increase their presence in children care and mothers are increasingly employed. We also expect the differential impact on the early transitions to be stronger in the case of daughters, and thus the change over time of the relative weight of the two “effects” to be stronger in the case of daughters.