, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 617-637

Recent trends in the process of stratification

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Abstract

Using the 14 annual cross-sections from the General Social Survey, we specify a “basic model” of attainment and describe the year-by-year fluctuations in its parameters. The results are partially consistent with theories describing the gradual growth of universalistic patterns of stratification and mobility. Under a linear model of educational achievement, we find that the direct effects of race are weakening and the returns to class-based advantages are declining in tandem. The contours of the socioeconomic “gender gap” are also changing in important ways, with the male intercept declining at a rapid pace and the female term registering small and insignificant yearby-year gains. At the same time, the returns to experience and schooling are increasing for men, whereas the corresponding returns for women have remained stable over the 15-year period. This pattern of interaction effects implies that the size of the gender gap varies over time and across different population groups.