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

  • Blommaert, L., Meuleman, R., Leenheer, S., & Butkēviča, A. (2020). The gender gap in job authority: Do social network resources matter? Acta Sociologica, 63(4), 381-399.
  • Bol, T., Ciocca Eller, C., Van De Werfhorst, H.G., & DiPrete, T. A. (2019). School-to-work linkages, educational mismatches, and labor market outcomes. American Sociological Review, 84(2), 275-307.
  • Bol, T., de Vaan, M., & van de Rijt, A. (2018). The Matthew Effect in Science Funding. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115, 4887-90.
  • Geven, S., & van de Werfhorst, H.G. (2020). The Role of Intergenerational Networks in Students’ School Performance in Two Differentiated Educational Systems: A Comparison of Between-and Within-Individual Estimates. Sociology of Education, 93(1), 40-64.
  • Kiekens, Wouter. J., la Roi, C., Bos, H.M.W., Kretschmer, T., van Bergen, D.D., & Veenstra, R. (2020). Explaining health disparities between heterosexual and LGB adolescents by integrating the minority stress and psychological mediation frameworks: Findings from the TRAILS study. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 49, 1767–1782.
  • Thijssen, L., F. van Tubergen, M. Coenders, R. Hellpap, & Jak, S. (2022). Discrimination of Black and Muslim minority groups in Western countries: Evidence from a meta-analysis of field experiments. International Migration Review, 56(3), 843-880.
  • Passaretta, G., & Wolbers, M.H. (2019). Temporary employment at labour market entry in Europe: Labour market dualism, transitions to secure employment and upward mobility. Economic and Industrial Democracy, 40(2), 382-408.
  • Van Hek, M., Buchmann, C., & Kraaykamp, G. (2019). Educational systems and gender differences in reading: A comparative multilevel analysis. European Sociological Review, 35(2), 169-186.
  • Van Tubergen, F. (2022). “Post-migration education among refugees in the Netherlands.” Frontiers in Sociology, 6:787009.

Coordinators: Gerbert Kraaykamp, Jochem Tolsma (contact information)

In the spotlight

Private: SOCION: 30 million euros for social cohesion research

The SOCION consortium, in which social sciences and humanities researchers from five different knowledge institutions are conducting research on social cohesion, has secured a €30 million Summit Grant

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