Social Mobility across Generations from Grandparents to Children: A French-Québec Comparison

Éva Lelièvre, Ined
Marianne Kempeneers, Université de Montréal
Delphine Remillon, Institut National d''Etudes Démographiques (INED)

Social mobility is usually studied from father to sons. Taking advantage of INED’s Biographies et entourage survey and University of Montréal Biographies et solidarités au Québec survey of respondents born between 1930 and 1950, we can extend the scope of the comparison beyond the usual male positions at two points in time and beyond the parent-child relationships. Especially since these generations in both countries underwent similar structural changes in their labour involvement i.e. the increase in their general qualification and the massive entry of women into the labour force which has transformed the family organization resulting in the sharp rise in dual-earner families. But there are also significant differences between the two national contexts: employment contracts are less protective in Quebec than in France, while returns to training over the life-course are much more frequent; the reduction in family size was also earlier in France than in Quebec

Both surveys have collected, beyond the respondents own life course, the work career of their parents, partners and children: career evolution and social mobility can thus be explored across three, possibly four generations. The first results on French data have allowed the study of the social-transmission within the lineages on a long historical perspective: three generations from the 1920s to 2000s. The comparison with Québec has led to a stimulating discussion of the differences in socio-professional categories, stratifications and segregation of the labour market by gender.

Questions that we address are the following: has the institutional context (and its evolution over time) been more or less favorable to social mobility in Québec or in France? What link can be made between intergenerational mobility and family transformations in the two countries? Which original methods can be developed to describe multigenerational mobility across three generations or even within more complex lineages?


Social mobility across generations fromgrandparents to children:
a French-Québec comparison

 

Socialmobility is usually studied from father to sons. Taking advantage of INED’s Biographieset entourage life-event history survey and University of Montréal Biographieset solidarités au Québec survey of respondents born between 1930 and 1950, wecan extend the scope of the comparison beyond the usual male positions at twopoints in time and beyond the parent-child relationships. Especially sincethese generations in both countries underwent similar structural changes intheir labour involvement i.e. the increase in their general qualification and themassive entry of women into the labour force which has transformed the familyorganization resulting in the sharp rise in dual-earner families.  But thereare also significant differences between the two national contexts: employmentcontracts are less protective in Quebec than in France, while returns totraining over the life-course are much more frequent (Kempeneers, Lelièvre etRobette, 2015); the reduction in family size was also faster and earlier inFrance than in Quebec

Eventhistory surveys are designed to provide data for the statistical analysis ofindividual trajectories. Here additionally both surveys have also collectedbeyond the respondents own life course, the work career of their parents,brothers and sisters, partners and children. Each generation’s involvement inpaid activity has been shaped by their specific historical context and we hereexplore their career evolution and social mobility across three, possibly fourgenerations. The first results on French data have allowed the study of thesocial-transmission within the lineages on a long historical perspective:ascendants to descendants of the respondents describe the occupations of peopleduring a long period from the 1920s to 2000s  (Lelièvre and Remillon, 2016)together with a fine description of the evolution of occupations and skills.Our results show that taking into account more complex familial-transmissionsthan only those between one son and his father produces some interestingresults : for instance, the transmission of self-employment or of employment inthe public sector status appears more clearly when one considers all thesiblings. We proposed an original method based on optimal matching analysis torepresent these complex transmissions (see one example below).  The comparisonwith Québec was the second step of our analysis. This comparison is possiblebecause the two surveys are very similar: the life-event histories surveys,constructed in collaboration, contain many similar questions; the samegenerations were surveyed, etc. (Bonvalet et Lelièvre, 2012; Kempeneers et VanPevenage, 2012). The comparison has led to a stimulating discussion of thedifferences in socio-professional categories, stratifications and insegregation of the labour market by gender.

Questionsthat we address in this presentation are the following: has the institutionalcontext (and its evolution over time) been more or less favorable to socialmobility in Québec or in France?  What link can be made betweenintergenerational mobility and family transformations in the two countries? Whichoriginal methods can be developed to describe multigenerational mobility acrossthree generations or even within more complex lineages?

Figure 1: A typology of social mobility within thelineages of the men surveyed

Source :Biographies et entourages (Ined) in Lelièvre and Remillon (2016)

References

BonvaletC. et Lelièvre E. (2012), De la famille à l’entourage, Collection Les GrandesEnquêtes, Eidtions de l’Ined / PUF, Paris, 472 p.

LelièvreE. et Remillon D. (2016), « Les transmissions professionnelles au sein deslignées », Communication à la journée d’étude « Faire Carrière.Rapport au travail et mobilités des hommes et des femmes », Network CAGE,30 mai.

KempeneersM., Lelièvre E., Robette N. (2015), « Les trajectoires d''activité des femmesissues du Baby-Boom. Une comparaison France-Québec », in C. Bonvalet, I.Olazabal & M. Oris (eds), Les baby-boomers, une histoire de famille,Presses de l''Université du Québec.

Kempeneers,M. et Van Pevenage I. (2013). « Biographies and family solidarity inQuebec », International Review of Sociology, 23(1):84-102.

VanBavel J, Moreels S., Van de Putte B., Matthijs K. (2009), « Family sizeand intergenerational social mobility during the fertility transition: Evidenceof resource dilution from the city of Antwerp in nineteenth century Belgium”,Demographic Research, vol. 24, p. 313-344

 

Presented in Session 1113: Families and Households