Do parents matter? Revisiting ethnic penalties in occupation among second generation ethnic minorities in England and Wales

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

April 15, 2015


The article studies the role of the class of origin in the occupational outcomes of second
generation ethnic minorities and white British in England and Wales. In so doing, it reconsiders
the relationship between ‘ethnic penalties’ and intergenerational social reproduction (or the
reverse: intergenerational social mobility) by combining approaches from the migration and
social stratification literatures. Two main hypotheses are tested. The first states that the class of
origin, or parental social background, helps explain differences in occupational outcomes between
ethnic minorities and white British; the second says that intergenerational social reproduction
processes vary between groups. Based on data from the United Kingdom Housing Longitudinal
Study (UKHLS: 2009–2010), the article finds partial evidence for both hypotheses. In particular, it
reveals that the lower social reproduction of Pakistani, Caribbean and African men has particularly
negative consequences for higher educated minorities, who do not gain – as the white British do
– from more advantageous origins.

Published in


Volume and page numbers

Volume: 49 , p.229 -251







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