Social Mobility in Developing Countries
Concepts, Methods, and Determinants
Social mobility — defined as the ability to move from a lower to a higher level of education or occupational status, or from a lower to a higher social class or income group — is the hope of economic development and the mantra of a good society.
There are disagreements about what constitutes social mobility, but there is broad agreement that in a just society all people should have a roughly equal chance of success regardless of the economic status of the families into which they were born. Concerns about rising inequality have engendered a renewed interest in social mobility, especially in the developing world.
Three basic questions configure the examinations of diverse aspects of social mobility presented in the book:
- How to assess the extent of social mobility in a given development context when the datasets required by conventional analysis and measurement techniques are at best limited and often almost entirely unavailable?
- How to reliably identify the drivers and the inhibitors of social mobility in particular developing country contexts?
- How to acquire the knowledge required to design interventions that are likely to raise social mobility, either by increasing upward mobility or by lowering downward mobility?