Education and social mobility: a review of longitudinal data
Peter Urwin, Franz Buscha and Giorgio Di Pietro, University of Westminster, Jo Blanden, Patrick Sturgis and Marcos Delprato, University of Surrey and Maura Lantrua, Department for Education and Skills
[Project number 30072]
This study investigates the impact of lifelong learning on social mobility, as measured by improvements in social class position. The focus is on possible non-pecuniary benefits such as improvements in job security, status, and working conditions that enhance individual and household quality of life. As well as considering the effects of adult learning on social class we seek, where possibly, to evaluate the knock-on effects of adult learning on other household members, particularly children and possibly wider civic behaviour/outcomes.
It has long been recognised that the accrual of qualifications and skills is strongly related to socio-economic achievement. The existing evidence-base in the UK does not provide strong support for any general earnings benefits of qualifications obtained in adulthood. However, this does not discount the possibility that there might be other non-pecuniary benefits of adult learning such as improvements in job security, status, and working conditions that enhance individual and household quality of life.
The study has been commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) to improve its understanding of the impact of lifelong learning on social mobility. The full programme of work will consider four longitudinal data sets: the ONS Longitudinal Study (ONS-LS); the National Child Development Study (NCDS); the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70); and the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS). The research team is led by Dr Jo Blanden and Dr Patrick Sturgis of the University of Surrey and Dr Peter Urwin of the University of Westminster Business School.