DIAL Policy Brief No. 2 ‘Towards a socially mobile Europe: What can policymakers learn from Dynamics of Inequality Across the Life-course (DIAL) research?’

Authors: Fran Abrams, Elina Kilpi-Jakonen,
Issue: 2021
Themes: , ,
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There are a number of key European policy agendas related to social mobility on which the DIAL research can shed light. This policy brief gives an overview of findings from DIAL projects in this area.

Key findings:

  • Educational opportunity is the most powerful tool in improving the life chances of those born into disadvantaged families.
  • Family and community background can have a much greater impact on life chances than what is predicted by typical estimates of social mobility.
  • Environmental circumstances are not the only driver; genetic differences between individuals have similarly large effects and can modify environmental effects.
  • Human capital is vital – when it comes to social and emotional skills the gap between the richest and poorest has significantly widened in the past 30 years.
  • Selective education systems which separate pupils into academic and non-academic streams play a major role in perpetuating social inequality.