Beyond social mobility

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Nick Pearce discusses how social mobility is becoming an increasingly narrow concept under the coalition government in UK. While equality of opportunity and personal aspiration are the mainstay of the political parties in Britain, social mobility is becoming an increasingly attenuated means of addressing social ambitions. The Coalition government has chosen instead to focus its efforts on increasing intergenerational relative social mobility. Coalition government therefore eschews any judgment on the fairness of current economic and social outcomes. Without an increase in absolute social mobility, an improvement in the rate of relative social mobility implies that some people will experience downward social mobility. The Coalition's social mobility strategy makes passing reference to the importance of absolute social mobility but it is silent on which economic or labor market policies might lead to the creation of better-paid jobs and more room at the top in higher occupations, without which relative social mobility becomes a zero-sum game.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-9
Number of pages7
JournalPublic Policy Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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