Social Mobility in the 20th Century

Class Mobility and Occupational Change in the United States and Germany

  • Florian R.┬áHertel

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XII
  2. Florian R. Hertel
    Pages 13-17
  3. Florian R. Hertel
    Pages 19-54
  4. Florian R. Hertel
    Pages 91-117
  5. Florian R. Hertel
    Pages 145-158
  6. Florian R. Hertel
    Pages 185-213
  7. Florian R. Hertel
    Pages 215-254
  8. Florian R. Hertel
    Pages 255-268
  9. Florian R. Hertel
    Pages 269-298
  10. Florian R. Hertel
    Pages 299-330
  11. Florian R. Hertel
    Pages 331-348
  12. Back Matter
    Pages 349-403

About this book


Based on a novel class scheme and a unique compilation of German and American data, this book reveals that intergenerational class mobility increased over most of the past century. While country differences in intergenerational mobility are surprisingly small, gender, regional, racial and ethnic differences were initially large but declined over time. At the end of the 20th century, however, mobility prospects turned to the worse in both countries. In light of these findings, the book develops a narrative account of historical socio-political developments that are likely to have driven the basic resemblances across countries but also account for the initial decline and the more recent increase in intergenerational inequality.


  • Development of an historical account to explain change in social mobility
  • Critical review of the main conceptualizations of social stratification
  • Conceptualization, test and application of a new class scheme
  • In-depth analysis of absolute and relative mobility in Germany and the U.S.
  • Comparison of social mobility chances in the U.S. and Germany

Target Groups

  • Scholars and students of class analysis, social mobility and social inequality research
  • Social policy developers aiming at understanding the reproduction of social inequality<

The Author

Florian R. Hertel is Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence. He is working on issues of stratification, inequality and intergenerational mobility in European countries and the U.S.


Novel class scheme Intergenerational class mobility Mobility prospects Main conceptualizations of social stratification Social mobility chances In-depth analysis of absolute and relative mobility

Authors and affiliations

  • Florian R.┬áHertel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political and Social Sciences (SPS)European University InstituteFlorenceItaly

Bibliographic information