The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • Stephen L. Morgan
Reference work entry


‘Stratification’ refers to a structure of inequality where individuals occupy differentiated positions that are ranked hierarchically according to broadly recognized standards. Prominent in 20th-century sociology, the term was used by Parsons and his students to explain why individuals in the most functionally important positions in society receive the greatest rewards for their services. In sociology, the most important legacy of stratification research is the cross-national study of intergenerational mobility between occupational categories. Recently, economists have joined sociologists in studying the relationship between increasing inequalities within the labour markets of industrialized countries and rates of intergenerational mobility.


Class Inequality Intergenerational income mobility Parsons, T. Mobility Social status Stratification 

JEL Classifications

D3 D63 
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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen L. Morgan
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