Interuniversity Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology

Social inequality

Social inequality: Improving schooling and employment

Social inequality is a central theme in sociology. Studies in this cluster foremost examine the (changing) effects of social, cultural and economic resources on persons’ socio-economic success. Differences in access to, and control over these resources affect peoples’ opportunities across many realms of society, such as in education, success on the labor market, family formation and health.

The general aim of this cluster is to perform theoretical empirical research on how people’s life chances develop in the course of their life and how they deal with changing circumstances.

Social inequality is studied both from an intra-generational and inter-generational perspective. Questions, among others, relate to which individuals achieve relevant educational credentials, end up in high occupational positions and are and remain in good health. It is investigated how aspects of individuals, families, social groups and neighborhoods affect inequalities in outcomes and how inequalities are related to ascribed characteristics like gender and ethnicity. A rich set of studies in this cluster focuses on how parental characteristics affect individuals’ life chances. Studies also focus on how inequalities between and within countries are affected by structural conditions (wealth, unemployment), the cultural climate (discrimination, norms) and national policies.

Key Publications

  • Gesthuizen, M., & Wolbers, M. H. (2010). Employment transitions in the Netherlands, 1980–2004: Are low educated men subject to structural or cyclical crowding out? Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 28, 437-451.
  • Kloosterman, R., Notten, N., Tolsma, J., & Kraaykamp, G. (2011). The effects of parental reading socialization and early school involvement on children’s academic performance: A panel study of primary school pupils in the Netherlands. European Sociological Review, 27, 291-306.
  • Knigge, A., Maas, I., Van Leeuwen, M. H., & Mandemakers, K. (2014). Status attainment of siblings during modernization. American Sociological Review, 79, 549-574.
  • Kraaykamp, G., & Van Eijck, K. (2010). The intergenerational reproduction of cultural capital: A threefold perspective. Social Forces, 89, 209-231.
  • Van Tubergen, F., Maas, I., & Flap, H. (2004). The economic incorporation of immigrants in 18 Western societies: Origin, destination, and community effects. American Sociological Review, 69, 704-727.
  • Volker, B. (2017). Women in charge – social capital of female entrepreneurs. Pp98-124, in: D. Reuschke, R. Kleinhans, & M. Van Ham (eds) Entrepreneurial Neighborhoods. Towards an Understanding of the Economies of Neighbourhoods and Communities. Edward Elgar.

Coordinators: Gerbert Kraaykamp, Jochem Tolsma, Beate Volker

In the spotlight

NRO Grant for Gijs Huitsing (RUG)

Gijs Huitsing (RUG) receives an NRO grant for his research ‘An effective anti-bullying program for secondary education’

Read more