Intergenerational Mobility in Relative Educational Attainment and Health-Related Behaviours in Europe

Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Alexi GUGUSHVILI, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Yizhang ZHAO, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Research on intergenerational educational mobility and health-related behaviours yields mixed findings. Depending on the direction of mobility and the type of mechanisms involved, we can expect positive or negative association between the two. One of the reasons why past findings are inconclusive might be the inappropriate operationalisation of intergenerational educational mobility and inadequate modelling strategy of mobility effects. Recent social mobility scholarship increasingly recognises that, in order to understand the net effect of intergenerational educational mobility, individuals’ and their parents’ education has to be viewed and operationalised in relative rather than absolute terms, that is, as a positional good, taking into account the relative prevalence of qualifications in parental and offspring generations. In this study, we use data from the 7th round of the European Social Survey (ESS) conducted in 2014 which contains information on a wide array of health-related behaviours such as smoking, alcohol and drug consumption, dietary intake, physical activity levels, risky sexual behaviour, and health service usage. The main explanatory variable, intergenerational educational mobility is operationalised in terms of relative intergenerational educational mobility based on the prevalence of specified qualifications in parental and offspring generations in 22 European societies. In terms of modelling strategy, we build on diagonal reference models (DRMs) in which the estimates for the consequences of intergenerational mobility are derived by comparing the health-related behaviour of intergenerationally mobile individuals to the health-related behaviour of intergenrationally immobile individuals located in the corresponding educational ladder of origins and destinations.