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Towards Open Societies? Trends, Variations and Driving Forces of Intergenerational Social Mobility in Europe over the Past Three Centuries

Final Report Summary - TOWARDSOPENSOCIETIES (Towards Open Societies? Trends, Variations and Driving Forces of Intergenerational Social Mobility in Europe over the Past Three Centuries)

We have collected, in collaboration with our international counterparts, millions of historical marriage records with occupations of two generations for a dozen countries in the period 1680-1940. We cleaned, and standardized these datasets and coded these data in internationally comparative occupational codes and related comparative measures of social position that we created ourselves (HISCO, HISCLASS, HISCAM). These measures are now used by virtually all major historical databases around the globe and by many scholars in various fields of research over the world, and will, for that matter, have an effect over and above this project. For this project it lead to a unique collection of harmonized long term datasets, enabling us to study cross regional and over time variation in the intergenerational transmission of social inequality.
As we are interested in the effect of important social restructuration on intergenerational social mobility, we often analyzed the harmonized data together with data on such restructuration processes in the municipalities where the individuals have lived. To this end we collected such regional historical context information. These datasets are cleaned and standardized.
Our analyses include methods that have not often been applied to historical material such as: multi-level models, including fixed-effect and sibling models
We can now demonstrate the existence of (i) a long term increase in openness in many countries; an increase that however is (ii) non-monotonous, with sometimes a short lived increase in the era of early industrialization and (iii) not uniform across countries. In fact (iv) the cross national variation is higher and more persistent than temporal variation. Temporal and spatial variation can at least partially be explained by measured modernization indicators (v), but (vi) not always as predicted by modernization theories.
More information can be found at:
The project website: http://www.towardsopensocieties.org
As well as the following sites:
Historical International Social Mobility Analysis http://www.hisma.org
Hiscam-scales http://www.hiscam.org www.camsis.stir.ac.uk/hiscam
HISCO-collaboratory at http://socialhistory.org/en/projects/hisco-history-work