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

Marianne Kempeneers, Université de Montréal
Éva Lelièvre, Ined
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?

Presented in Session 102: Families and Social Stratification