A Broken Social Elevator? How to Promote Social Mobility
This report provides new evidence on social mobility in the context of increased inequalities
of income and opportunities in OECD and selected emerging economies. It covers the
aspects of both social mobility between parents and children and of personal income
mobility over the life course, and their drivers. The report shows that social mobility
from parents to offspring is low across the different dimensions of earnings, education,
occupation and health, and that the same prevails for personal income mobility over
the life course. There is in particular a lack of mobility at the bottom and at the
top of the social ladder – with “sticky floors” preventing upward mobility for many
and “sticky ceilings” associated with opportunity hoarding at the top. The lack of
social mobility has economic, societal and political consequences. This report shows
that there is space for policies to make societies more mobile and protect households
from adverse income shocks. It discusses the options and measures that policy makers
can consider how to improve social mobility across and within generations.
Published on June 15, 2018Also available in: French
The OECD Income Distribution Database offers data on levels and trends in Gini coefficients before and after taxes and transfers, average and median household disposable incomes, relative poverty rates and poverty gaps, before and after taxes and transfers.