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Education, Employment Dynamics and the Middle Class in Germany
Education, Employment Dynamics and the Middle Class in Germany

Author(s): Michael Gebel
Subject(s): Social Sciences, Education, Sociology, State/Government and Education, Applied Sociology, Social development, Social differentiation, Economic development, Sociology of Education
Published by: Институт по философия и социология при БАН
Keywords: Returns to education; unemployment; middle class; Germany

Summary/Abstract: The size of the middle class has been declining in Germany. Based on data from the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) 1984–2013, this article analyses the role of education credentials and employment dynamics in the allocation process to different class positions. Multinomial logistic regression analyses show that persons with the lowest general education levels end up more often in lower-class positions. Vocational education progressively acts as a safety net against lower-class positions by providing pathways to middle-class positions, but it also increasingly diverts people from upperclass positions. In contrast, tertiary educated people have increasing relative advantages as regards entering the upper class. Regarding employment dynamics, it can be shown that job loss is a threat to the middle class. Employed middle-class people who become unemployed have a higher probability of descending to the lower class compared with middle-class people who are continuously employed. In contrast, their relative chances of remaining in the middle class and chances of upward mobility into the upper class decrease. Finding a job is an important channel of upward mobility for unemployed people. Unemployed lower-class people who become employed have a lower risk of remaining trapped in the lower class and much higher chances of entering the middle class compared with lower-class people who are continuously unemployed.

  • Issue Year: 48/2016
  • Issue No: Special
  • Page Range: 23-45
  • Page Count: 23
  • Language: English