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Positional education and intergenerational status transmission in Brazil

Salata, Andre and Cheung, Sin Yi ORCID: 2022. Positional education and intergenerational status transmission in Brazil. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 77 , 100671. 10.1016/j.rssm.2021.100671

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This paper examines the role of education in the intergenerational status transmission process in Brazil against the context of marked educational expansion. We ask whether expansion has been successful in reducing the indirect effects of social origins on destinations, mediated via schooling. Specifically, we consider the positionality of education by adopting a relative measure. Using data from the National Household Sample Survey of Brazil we predict respondents’ occupational status from three birth cohorts with path analysis models. We compare the results using absolute and relative measures for education as a mediating variable. Our main findings show that educational expansion did not reduce the indirect association between origin and destination for either men or women, when education is measured as a positional good. Our conclusion challenges the prevailing understanding in Brazil that educational expansion contributes to increasing social fluidity, especially in light of the declining returns to schooling in the labor market. Based on this new evidence, we argue that education is not losing its value as a mediating variable within the status transmission process, which can only be noticed when it is measured in relative terms. Our findings thus provide important new insights on how we interpret the intergenerational status transmission process in middle income countries such as Brazil.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0276-5624
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 December 2021
Date of Acceptance: 1 December 2021
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 06:41

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