CDE Working Paper #97-01

Class Mobility and the Stratification of Opportunity

Among Men in Four Western Nations

John Allen Logan


Western and Wright (1994) used log-linear analysis to study patterns of class mobility in the United States, Canada, Norway, and Sweden, finding evidence for hypotheses derived from Wright's (1985) class theory. This article reanalyzes Western and Wright's data using TSL methods (Logan 1996a), which are more suitable for cross-national comparisons. Insufficient evidence is found to support Western and Wright's claim for a greater importance of economic capital in determining class mobility patterns in the United States and Canada than in Norway and Sweden. In addition, strong evidence is found that Western and Wright's effects of expert class origins could more parsimoniously be considered manifestations of education effects spread more generally through the table. TSL estimates show there is little stratification of opportunity by origin class in the four nations except with respect to employer and petty bourgeois destinations.  This article introduces and evaluates a purely tabular form of TSL analysis and a graphical representation of estimated labor queue compositions.