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Br J Sociol. 1999 Mar;50(1):28-48.

Social mobility and personal satisfaction: evidence from ten countries.

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Nuffield College, Oxford.


This paper examines survey data relating class mobility to satisfaction and dissatisfaction with seven different domains of everyday life among nationally representative samples of men and women living in ten industrialized nations. The evidence is set against competing pessimistic and optimistic accounts of the mobility experience found in earlier literature. Results show that individuals who move from working-class origins to middle-class destinations are no more likely to be systematically satisfied or dissatisfied with life than are the socially immobile or even those downwardly mobile from advantaged backgrounds into the working class. Indeed, in all nations, the overall association between class experience and satisfaction with life is both weak and uneven across the different life-domains. The study also serves to illustrate an important principle of research methodology more generally.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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