UK Data Service Data Impact Fellows: Marii Paskov

paskov marii

We are delighted to announce Marii Paskov as one of our UK Data Service Data Impact Fellows. Marii is a Research Officer at the University of Oxford, discusses her project comparing intergenerational social mobility across over 30 countries from 2002 to 2010. Marii introduces her research and her approach to impact.

I am a postdoctoral Research Officer at the Institute for New Economic Thinking and the Department of Social Policy and Intervention at the University of Oxford. I am also a Research Fellow at Nuffield College and I have previously worked at the University of Amsterdam and the Institute of International and Social Studies at Tallinn University.

While being a sociologist by training, my work is of interdisciplinary nature relating to sociology, economics, social policy, and social psychology. Throughout my career as a researcher, I have studied socio-economic inequality, living standards and psychosocial outcomes. Methodologically, I am specialized in quantitative research employing advanced statistical methods.

Currently my work is focused on the project Intergenerational Social Mobility: comparison across countries and trends over time (in collaboration with Erzsébet Bukodi and Brian Nolan from the University of Oxford). Intergenerational social mobility refers to the relationship between the socioeconomic position an individual occupies and the position in which he or she was brought up. Comparative research on intergenerational social mobility has typically entailed comparisons over time and comparisons between countries. However, comparative social mobility research has been restricted due to lack of appropriate data. Country comparisons, in particular, have been restricted to a relatively small number of countries or have been of weak quality due to lack of good comparative data.

In this project we extend the country-comparative perspective by studying intergenerational social class mobility in over 30 countries in Europe using consistent and coherent data from the European Social Survey (ESS). In addition to cross-country comparison, we investigate over-time changes in relative mobility chances within countries, using a cohort-approach. The first objective of this project is to give an up-to-date descriptive account of cross-country and over-time differences in absolute and relative mobility rates in Europe. The second aim is to identify the impact of specific institutional or macro-economic features on social mobility rates, thereby advancing understanding of contextual determinants of social mobility.

The results so far have been surprising. Figure 1 below demonstrates equality of opportunity in the 32 countries surveyed, comparing the odds of someone born into the high managerial and professional class later attaining that status with those of a person at the opposite end of the social and economic spectrum (the lower the figure the more equality of opportunity).

Figure 1: Odds ratios indicating mobility between the high managerial and professional class and the working class in Europe, men aged 25-64


When it comes to data, we use a pooled version of the European Social Survey (ESS) from 2002 to 2010, which allows to construct comparable measures of class of origin and destination for a large number of European countries. Social class is defined via the European Socio-Economic Classification (ESeC) that is based on a concept of employment relations, and is specifically designed to facilitate comparison across countries.

Next to the substantive goals, this project also aims to demonstrate that the ESS is a good source for comparative social mobility analysis and that we need to ensure that relevant variables are appropriately coded and kept or re-introduced to the survey in order to extend the potential of the data. Intergenerational social mobility is a central question from the perspective of equality of opportunity and we need high quality comparative data in order to study this topic thoroughly and to understand how we could promote social mobility.

Additional links to the project on intergenerational social mobility in Europe:

What influences intergenerational social mobility in Europe? – Dr Marii Paskov & Dr Erzsébet Bukodi presenting at the Oxford Martin School Lecture Series on Inequality

Blog post from the 3rd International European Social Survey Conference.

Blog post by the Oxford Martin School.

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