Class Origin, Education, and Class Destination: Analyzing the O_E_D Triangle in Japan
To examine the long-term trends in Japan, we use data from the Social Stratification and Social Mobility Surveys (SSM), which are nationally representative surveys that have been conducted every ten years since 1955 in Japan. We restrict our analysis to men between the ages of 30 and 64 because earlier SSM did not include women respondents.
We find that the pairs of associations (OE, ED, and OD) are remarkably stable in post-war Japan. Despite the expansion of the educational system during this period, the extent of inequality of educational opportunities (OE association) remained the same over time, as did the extent of returns to education (ED association). We confirm the earlier finding that Japan does not exhibit any clear trend toward greater openness in the OD association. Furthermore, we find that the OD association does not vary by the level of education in Japan. In contrast to some European nations and the United States where the OD association is weak or absent among the highly educated, class origin continues to affect class destination even among those who attended the institutions of higher education in Japan. We discuss the implications of these empirical findings.