Economic boom and social mobility: The Irish experience

C.T. Whelan, R. Layte

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    9 Citations (Scopus)


    In this paper we examine the consequences for social mobility of the recent unprecedented period of economic growth experienced in Ireland and the implications of such developments for current theories of social fluidity. Contrary to suggestions that the "Celtic Tiger" experience has been associated with deepening problem marginalization, we found evidence for a substantial upgrading of the class structure, increased levels of social mobility and increased social fluidity in relation to long-range hierarchical mobility. Such increased openness could not be explained by changes in the mediating role of education. The pattern of change suggests that both the upgrading of the class structure and the recent unprecedented tightness of the labour market have led employers to increasingly apply criteria other than education in a manner that has facilitated increased social fluidity. The Irish case provides further support for the argument for reconsidering the balance that mobility research has struck between social fluidity and absolute mobility and encouraging increased attention to the evolution of firms and jobs. It also suggests that, in circumstances where policies in advanced industrial societies have shown an increasing tendency to diverge, increased social fluidity may come about as a consequence of very different economic and social policies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)193-208
    Number of pages16
    JournalResearch in Social Stratification and Mobility
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2006

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    Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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