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

  • 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.
  • Checchi, D. & Van de Werfhorst, H.G. (2018). Policies, Skills and Earnings: How Educational Inequality Affects Earnings Inequality. Socio-Economic Review, 16(1): 137-160.
  • La Roi, C., & Mandemakers, J. (2018). Acceptance of homosexuality through education? Investigating the role of education, family background and individual characteristics in the United Kingdom. Social Science Research, 71, 109-128.
  • Roscigno, V., Sauer, C., & Valet, P. (2018). Rules, relations and work. American Journal of Sociology, 123, 6; 1784-1825.
  • Van Hek, M., G. Kraaykamp, & B. Pelzer (2018). Do schools affect girls and boys reading performance differently? Amultilevel study on gendered effects of school resources and school practices. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 29 (1): 1-21.
  • 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.

Coordinators: Gerbert Kraaykamp, Jochem Tolsma, Beate Volker

In the spotlight

ERC Consolidator Grant for Tobias Stark

Research proposal ‘DualNets: Bridges in social networks: Harnessing dual identity to improve interethnic relations’ awarded

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