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Family and the stratification process

doc. PhDr. Martin Kreidl, M.A., Ph.D.

Ever since the publication of Blau and Duncan’s seminal work on American Occupational Structure (1967) scholars have considered “family structure” to be among the standard set of predictors of socioeconomic achievement of children (school grades, cognitive development, educational credentials, occupational standing, income, health,…). While it was satisfactory for Blau and Ducan to employ a simple indicator variable to differentiate between “complete” and “incomplete” families, this practice seems indefensible any longer, since the incidence, sources, and forms of “incomplete” families have changed dramatically across the world. Nevertheless, sociologists continue utilizing a simple dummy variable on the right/hand side of their regression equations in the same fashion as Blau and Duncan did. I argue that this practice shall be revised. Therefore, I propose:

  1. To carry out a meta-analysis of analytical approaches to this issue in the existing stratification literature of the last decade or so.
  2. To carry out my own empirical analyses of available data for the Czech Republic (and possible also other countries) to show:

a. If (and to what extent) stratification consequences of family “incompleteness” differ; for instance in relation to how the family was established and for how long it existed in the present form b. If (and how) the effect of family structure upon other stratification variables (education, occupation, income, health) changes c. If there are (and what is their nature) significant interactions between family structure and other variables measuring family resources (parental education, occupation, earnings…) d. If the overall extent of intergenerational status reproduction in society changes as a result of the above mentioned transformations. The first task requires an application of standard techniques of meta-analysis. The second set of tasks will rely on multivariate statistical techniques applied to available survey data. The final point may also invite an application of data simulation tools.


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