Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department


Committee Chair/Advisor

Haller, William

Committee Member

Witte , James

Committee Member

Winslow-Bowe , Sarah


Research exploring the negative effects of intergenerational educational mobility is very common throughout the social science literature. The primary question driving this research is whether those who exceed the highest level of education attained by either of their parents have less cohesive ties with their parents than those who do not. Most of this research uses a metric of absolute mobility which directly compares the child's education to the education of their mother and father. However, if more people are receiving a college degree in the child's than in the parents' generation, it is possible that the child's mobility will be viewed less as an individual achievement and more as a structural phenomenon (Kalmijn 2006).
The research presented here contributes to the growing body of research on the effects of educational mobility a new metric of structural mobility (Sorensen 1977), which takes into account the changing trends in educational attainment. The overall purpose of this paper is to analyze how structural educational mobility differs from absolute mobility in its effects on child-parent relationships.
I find that absolute mobility does not impact child-parent relationships significantly. However, structural mobility was found to have a negative impact on child-parent relations when an individual is upwardly-mobile. When an individual is downwardly-mobile, structural mobility has a positive impact. Therefore, the effects of structural mobility indeed are more influential than absolute mobility, but not in the ways hypothesized by Kalmijn (2006).



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