Changing classes, changing preferences: how social class mobility affects economic preferences

Author (Person)
Series Title
Series Details Volume 43, Number 6, Pages 1211-1237
Publication Date November 2020
Content Type


While many studies have identified an association between social class and economic preferences, we know little about the implications of changes in class location for these preferences. This article assesses how social class and intra-generational class mobility affect economic preferences drawing on longitudinal data from the British Household Panel Survey. In doing so, the article adopts a post-industrial perspective that considers horizontal and vertical class divisions.

Even when time-invariant characteristics of individuals are kept constant (through fixed-effects estimation), it is found that both vertical and horizontal class location explain economic preferences. Thus, these estimations suggest that social class moulds preferences, even when accounting for factors that can lead to selection into classes. Moreover, people who change classes hold different economic preferences than their peers in the class of origin, but do not completely assimilate into their class of destination. This implies that growing intra-generational class mobility could undermine the class basis of political conflict.

Source Link
Subject Categories ,
Countries / Regions