This report by the Policy Research Institute was commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions. With increasing inequality, social mobility has emerged as a measure of social fairness. Several studies suggest that social mobility may have declined in the UK and this has strengthened strategic and political concern with the issue. The study found that in terms of informing the development of policy responses, it is helpful to think of social mobility as the quality of participation in the labour market.The factors involved in social mobility include social and cultural capital which can help middle-class families confer social advantages on their children, increasing their potential to move upwards and protecting them from downwards movement in the social hierarchy.
Early year’s influences are also seen as key to influencing later life chances and education appears to be one of the most important factors influencing social mobility.
Health and wellbeing also play their part. Ill-health results from social and environmental factors identified with lower socio-economic status, and ill-health and caring responsibilities can lead to declining socio-economic status.
The report is available at: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rports2007-2008/rrep450.pdf