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Beyond the Parental Generation: The Influence of Grandfathers and Great-grandfathers on Status Attainment

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ABSTRACT

Studies on intergenerational social mobility usually examine the extent to which social positions of one generation determine the social positions of the next. This study investigates whether the persistence of inequality can be expected to stretch over more than two generations. Using a multigenerational version of GENLIAS, a large-scale database containing information from digitized Dutch marriage certificates during 1812–1922, this study describes and explains the influence of grandfathers and great-grandfathers on the occupational status attainment of 119,662 men in the Netherlands during industrialization. Multilevel regression models show that both grandfather’s and great-grandfather’s status influence the status attainment of men, after fathers and uncles are taken into account. Whereas the influence of the father and uncles decreases over time, that of the grandfather and great-grandfather remains stable. The results further suggest that grandfathers influence their grandsons through contact but also without being in contact with them. Although the gain in terms of explained variance from using a multigenerational model is moderate, leaving out the influence of the extended family considerably misrepresents the influence of the family on status attainment.

No MeSH data available.


Influence of status of grandfathers by temporal and geographical distance
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Fig5: Influence of status of grandfathers by temporal and geographical distance

Mentions: How did grandfathers influence the status attainment of their grandsons? The most obvious mechanism is through direct contact, by which resources can be passed on directly. I predicted that if this mechanism was at work, the grandfather effect would decline with the lower likelihood of direct contact between the grandfather and his grandson(s), that is, when the temporal (H2a) and geographical distance (H2b) between them increased. Model 7 supports both these predictions: the grandfather effect becomes smaller with increasing temporal distance (b2010 = –0.001; p < .05) and geographical distance (b3010 = –0.011; p < .001). Figure 5 plots the grandfather effect against geographical distance (for those married in 1904, the mean marriage year) for five values of temporal distance: (1) the minimum value (grandson born 36 years after his grandfather), (2) two standard deviations below average (born about 47 years later), (3) average (67 years), (4) two standard deviations above average (87 years), and (5) the maximum value (125 years). The graph shows that if the temporal distance increases, the predicted grandfather effect starts to move toward 0 but never reaches 0. With respect to geographical distance, the graph shows that the grandfather effect is about 0.04 (26.7 %) higher for those grandfathers and grandsons who married in the same municipality (value 0 in the graph) than for those who married about 50 km apart (approximately value 4 in the graph; 95 % of the cases married within 50 km of each other). Taken together, the grandfather effect is predicted to be 0.20 for those most likely to be in contact (temporal distance = 36 years; geographical distance = 0 km) and approximately 0.06 for those for whom it was practically impossible to be in contact (temporal distance = 125; geographical distance = e6 ≈ 400 km). This large difference is evidence that in the nineteenth century, Dutch grandfathers influenced their grandsons’ status attainment through direct contact. That the effect never becomes 0 may indicate that grandfathers can also have an influence without necessarily being in direct contact with their grandsons.Fig. 5


Beyond the Parental Generation: The Influence of Grandfathers and Great-grandfathers on Status Attainment
Influence of status of grandfathers by temporal and geographical distance
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5016555&req=5

Fig5: Influence of status of grandfathers by temporal and geographical distance
Mentions: How did grandfathers influence the status attainment of their grandsons? The most obvious mechanism is through direct contact, by which resources can be passed on directly. I predicted that if this mechanism was at work, the grandfather effect would decline with the lower likelihood of direct contact between the grandfather and his grandson(s), that is, when the temporal (H2a) and geographical distance (H2b) between them increased. Model 7 supports both these predictions: the grandfather effect becomes smaller with increasing temporal distance (b2010 = –0.001; p < .05) and geographical distance (b3010 = –0.011; p < .001). Figure 5 plots the grandfather effect against geographical distance (for those married in 1904, the mean marriage year) for five values of temporal distance: (1) the minimum value (grandson born 36 years after his grandfather), (2) two standard deviations below average (born about 47 years later), (3) average (67 years), (4) two standard deviations above average (87 years), and (5) the maximum value (125 years). The graph shows that if the temporal distance increases, the predicted grandfather effect starts to move toward 0 but never reaches 0. With respect to geographical distance, the graph shows that the grandfather effect is about 0.04 (26.7 %) higher for those grandfathers and grandsons who married in the same municipality (value 0 in the graph) than for those who married about 50 km apart (approximately value 4 in the graph; 95 % of the cases married within 50 km of each other). Taken together, the grandfather effect is predicted to be 0.20 for those most likely to be in contact (temporal distance = 36 years; geographical distance = 0 km) and approximately 0.06 for those for whom it was practically impossible to be in contact (temporal distance = 125; geographical distance = e6 ≈ 400 km). This large difference is evidence that in the nineteenth century, Dutch grandfathers influenced their grandsons’ status attainment through direct contact. That the effect never becomes 0 may indicate that grandfathers can also have an influence without necessarily being in direct contact with their grandsons.Fig. 5

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Studies on intergenerational social mobility usually examine the extent to which social positions of one generation determine the social positions of the next. This study investigates whether the persistence of inequality can be expected to stretch over more than two generations. Using a multigenerational version of GENLIAS, a large-scale database containing information from digitized Dutch marriage certificates during 1812&ndash;1922, this study describes and explains the influence of grandfathers and great-grandfathers on the occupational status attainment of 119,662 men in the Netherlands during industrialization. Multilevel regression models show that both grandfather&rsquo;s and great-grandfather&rsquo;s status influence the status attainment of men, after fathers and uncles are taken into account. Whereas the influence of the father and uncles decreases over time, that of the grandfather and great-grandfather remains stable. The results further suggest that grandfathers influence their grandsons through contact but also without being in contact with them. Although the gain in terms of explained variance from using a multigenerational model is moderate, leaving out the influence of the extended family considerably misrepresents the influence of the family on status attainment.

No MeSH data available.