Tag Archives: Mexico

Videos of Conference Panel V: “Inequality, Education and the Labor Market”

Chair: Andreas Eckert (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin/Forum)DSC02159


Augustin Emane (Institut d’Etudes Avancées de Nantes)

Patricio Solís (El Colegio de México, Mexico City)

Anja Weiß (Universität Duisburg-Essen)

In many societies, (higher) education has been equated with a form of professional formation whose focus lies on the requirements of enterprises. At the same time, a reduced individual dividend for education (that is, a decreasing value of titles and degrees because of an increasing level of education throughout the whole society) has become observable. To what extent are opportunities in the labor market dependent on education and (to what extent) has this connection loosened during the last decades? Besides university studies, which alternative routes are likely to lead to a successful career? How are the factors of inter-generational inequality, on the one hand, and education and the labor market, on the other, intertwined?

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Educational Attainment and Early Occupational Trajectories of Youth in Mexico City

Conference Paper to be presented by Patricio Solís

Patricio Solís is a Research Professor at the Center for Sociological Studies, El Colegio de México. His focus is on social stratification, social mobility, and educational inequality in Mexico and Latin America. Currently he is finishing a co-edited book that summarizes the results of an international project aimed to analyze intergenerational class mobility patterns in six Latin American countries.

Recent research in Mexico shows that the risk of job precarization is significantly higher among youth. This situation has exacerbated after the economic recession of 2008-09. On the other hand, educational research indicates that the returns on education have decreased, thus increasing labor market vulnerability among the most educated, who used to have secured access to top-level occupations. These trends might suggest that labor market hardship has emerged as a widespread phenomenon among Mexican youth, blurring traditional markers of inequality, such as socioeconomic background and educational attainment. But is this actually the case?

In my presentation, I will discuss the results of recent research in which I analyze the early occupational trajectories of youth in Mexico City. I focus on the effects of educational attainment (controlling for socioeconomic background and family events) on three occupational transitions: entry into the labor force, job shifts, and reentries into the labor force. Using event history analysis, I devote special attention to the competing risks of entering into service-class positions, intermediary occupations, and what I define as “low-quality” occupations.

As earlier research has suggested, my results confirm that many young Mexicans initiate their occupational lives in “low-quality” occupations, and many stay there in subsequent job shifts/reentries. Also, risks of labor disqualification are significantly high among those with higher education. However, the labor market advantages of higher education are still important, particularly because it protects against spending the early stages of the occupational career in low-quality positions.

Thus, in a context of generalized labor market deterioration and precarization, as found in urban Mexico, higher education is no longer a guarantee for successful integration in the labor market. However, it still provides important comparative advantages to those who are able to make it to college. Therefore, social stratification studies should remain interested in the multiple ways in which educational inequality, and particularly inequality in access to higher education, is constructed.

Inequality Generating Process in Longitudinal Perspective: Educational Transitions and Occupational Trajectories in Three Mexican Cohorts (1950-2011)

Research Project (to be discussed at the Winter Academy) by Nicolás Brunet.

Nicolás Brunet is a sociologist at the Centre of Sociological Studies, El Colegio de México. He is currently pursuing his PhD with a focus on inequality generating processes in a longitudinal perspective, both at educational and occupational transitions.

Past generations of stratification and social mobility studies have concentrated only on comparative examinations of mobility rates and mobility tables between countries. They have provided a comparative portrait of distinct mobility regimes linked to socioeconomic and industrial development degrees, as well as historical change of occupational patterns throughout different cohorts. In view of the fact that they work on a societal level, little insights were given on the individual level of job/status attainment. In addition, by mixing individuals of different ages, sociodemographic and occupational experiences, classical studies usually have arrived at an unrealistic and without-context picture of the individual level. Notwithstanding the importance of that task, the inequality generating process has remained a “black box”. This project suggests that combining the stratification and social mobility tradition with a life course perspective (LCP) could help us to tackle some of those “black box” restrictions. Thus, the aim of this research is the comparative analysis of trajectories of three Mexican birth cohorts (1951-53; 1966-68 and 1978-80), throughout school inequalities, occupational chances and social roles competition at different institutional and social settings and opportunities. By multilevel life event modeling techniques, this project looks at stratification trajectories, based on family background tradition, but also, by using an interlocking careers perspective. Contributing to a “connected” portrait of life course stratification logic, it also explores evidence of “cumulative advantages” versus “age-transitional” lifetime processes. At the individual level, it uses longitudinal retrospective information provided by “Encuesta Demográfica Retrospectiva” (EDER 2011) at the national level. To set up institutional and social settings, it uses data of General Population, Household and Housing Census (1960, 1970, 1990, 2000 y 2010) provided by IPUMS International Project.

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