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Welcome to Jan O. Jonsson´s homepage
Jan O. Jonsson Jan O. Jonsson
Professor of Sociology
Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI)
Stockholm University
SE-10691 Stockholm
SWEDEN

Phone: +46 8 162654
Fax: +46 8 154670
E-mail: janne.jonsson@sofi.su.se
Postal address:
Shared appointment, alternative address:
Nuffield College
OX1 1NF Oxford
England
Email: janne.jonsson@nuffield.ox.ac.uk
Phone: +44 1865 278513
Research

SOCIAL STRATIFICATION
My main research area is social stratification - including studies of educational inequality, the class structure, social mobility, and ethnic stratification and integration. My interest in intergenerational processes also incorporates the study of children's well-being (see further below). A fuller set of references (as well as some other information on my appointments, grants, etc.) is found in my attached Curriculum Vitae. Below, central publications are listed under different headings, while the first section just lists the most recent (summary of results can be found under each substantive heading).

RECENT PUBLICATIONS AND WORKING PAPERS
P. Gregg, L. Macmillan, J.O. Jonsson, and C. Mood. 2013. "Understanding Income Mobility: The Role of Education for Intergenerational Income Persistence in the US, UK, and Sweden." DoQSS Working Paper No 13-12. London: Institute of Education. (Income mobility US, GB, Sweden)

J.O. Jonsson, C. Mood, and E. Bihagen. 2013. "Income inequality and poverty during economic recession and growth: Sweden 1991-2007." GINI Discussion Paper 60. Amsterdam: AIAS. (Income inequality and poverty)

C. Mood and J.O. Jonsson. 2013. "Ekonomisk utsatthet och välfärd bland barn och deras familjer 1968-2010." Underlagsrapport till Barns och ungas hälsa, vård och omsorg 2013. (Socialstyrelsen). (Barnfattigdom) For a short summary, see below under Studies of the Level of Living. English version: Poverty and Welfare among Children and their Families. (Child Poverty) Research Report 2014/2. Institute for Futures Studies, Stockholm.

M. Jackson and J.O. Jonsson. 2013. “Why does inequality of educational opportunity vary across countries? Primary and secondary effects in comparative context.” Ch. 11 in M. Jackson (ed.) Determined to Succeed? Performance versus Choice in Educational Attainment. Stanford: Stanford University Press. (Prim/sec effects comp)

Jonsson, J.O., S.B. Låftman, F. Rudolphi, and P. Engzell Waldén. 2012. ”Integration, etnisk mångfald och attityder bland högstadieelever”, Bilaga 6 (pp. 263-391) to the Governmental Commission, SOU 2012:74, Främlingsfienden inom oss. Stockholm: Fritzes. The Appendix can be downloaded here: (Integration bland högstadieelever), and a preliminary version in English here (Ethnic integration)

Mood, C., J.O. Jonsson, and E. Bihagen. 2012. "Socioeconomic Persistence Across Generations: Cognitive and Noncognitive Processes", Chapter 3, pp. 53-83, in J. Ermisch, M. Jäntti, and T. Smeeding (eds.), From Parents to Children. The Intergenerational Transmission of Advantage. New York: Russell Sage. (Book information: From Parents to Children)

Jackson, M., Jonsson, J.O., and F. Rudolphi. 2012. “Ethnic Inequality and Choice-Driven Educational Systems: A Longitudinal Study of Performance and Choice in England and Sweden.” Sociology of Education 85: 158-178. (Ethnic Inequality in Choice-driven Education Systems)

GENERAL SOCIAL STRATIFICATION
The most general article on stratification is a review article, with Richard Breen, on inequality of opportunity:

Breen, R. and J.O. Jonsson. 2005. "Inequality of Opportunity in Comparative Perspective: Recent Research on Educational Attainment and Social Mobility", Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 31, pp. 223-43. (Inequality, review).

INTERGENERATIONAL MOBILITY
In a recent publication, Carina Mood, Erik Bihagen, and I study the processes behind intergenerational inheritance, by using population data from Swedish administrative registers. We analyse the role of cognitive ability, personality traits, and physical characteristics for the correlation between father’s and sons’ income and between their educational attainment, respectively. We find that the intergenerational educational correlation (r=0.38) is mostly mediated by cognitive ability, while personality traits and physical characteristics are of little importance. The income correlation (r=0.31) is mediated by cognitive ability too, but also by personality traits – and our analyses suggest that characteristics such as social maturity, emotional stability, and leadership capacity gain their importance directly in the labour market rather than through schooling. An interesting finding is that father’s income has a persistent and non-negligible effect on sons’ income despite very extensive controls for other parental characteristics (such as education, social class and occupation) and for other important mediators.

Mood, C., J.O. Jonsson, and E. Bihagen. 2012. "Socioeconomic Persistence Across Generations: Cognitive and Noncognitive Processes", Chapter 3, pp. 53-83, in J. Ermisch, M. Jäntti, and T.M. Smeeding (eds.), From Parents to Children. The Intergenerational Transmission of Advantage. New York: Russell Sage. (Book information: From Parents to Children)

My current research includes a project on micro-class mobility, together with David Grusky, Stanford, Reinhard Pollak, WZB, and Matthew di Carlo, Albert Shanker Institute (www.classmobility.org). Two central publications are:

Jonsson, J.O., D.B. Grusky, R. Pollak, M. Di Carlo, and C. Mood. 2011. "Occupations and Social Mobility: Gradational, Big-class, and Micro-Class Reproduction in Comparative Perspective”, Chapter 5, pp. 138-171, in T.M. Smeeding, R. Erikson, and M. Jäntti (eds.), Persistence, Privilege, and Parenting. The Comparative Study of Intergenerational Mobility. New York: Russell Sage. (Book information: Persistence, Privilege, and Parenting)

Jonsson, J.O., D.B. Grusky, M. Di Carlo, R. Pollak, and M.C. Brinton. 2009. "Micro-Class Mobility. Social Reproduction in Four Countries", American Journal of Sociology, 114: 977-1036. (Micro-class mobility).

EDUCATIONAL INEQUALITY
In contemporary theories of educational stratification, the analysis distinguishes between group differences in performance and in educational choice, at given levels of performance (which has come to be known as "primary" and "secondary" effects), suggesting different mechanisms behind these two types of inequality. In a recent book on Stanford University Press, a group of researchers based on the Equalsoc network, and headed by Michelle Jackson, addressed this issue for a number of Western countries. In the comparative chapter, where we draw on all contributions, Michelle Jackson and I conclude that the variation across countries (and over time) is substantial when it comes to the choice (secondary) effects, whereas the performance (primary) effects are strikingly similar. One policy conclusion is that there is still ample room of equalizing educational attainment by encouraging, and providing the resources for, children from disadvantaged social backgrounds to make the same choices as other children at the same level of performance (e.g., grades).

M. Jackson and J.O. Jonsson. 2013. “Why does inequality of educational opportunity vary across countries? Primary and secondary effects in comparative context.” Ch. 11 in M. Jackson (ed.) Determined to Succeed? Performance versus Choice in Educational Attainment. Stanford: Stanford University Press. (Prim/sec effects comp)

A lot of interest has been devoted to peer effects in education, and often the core idea is that high-achieving peers induce better achievements because of a positive contextual effects. Carina Mood and I show that this is only part of the story: High-achieving peers also have a negative effect on educational transition propensities, thus counter-balancing the achievement effect. We relate this to a generic contrast effect that is likely to obtain in many areas of social life.

Jonsson, J.O. and C. Mood, 2008. "Choice by Contrast in Swedish Schools: How Peers' Achievement Affects Educational Choice", Social Forces, Vol. 87, pp. 741-65. (Jonsson-Mood SF).

Educational expansion is often seen as key for equalizing educational outcomes, but the empirical tests of this that Robert Erikson and I carried out for a comparative volume, show that expansion has had little effect on equalization (in relative terms) in Sweden.

Jonsson, J.O. and R. Erikson. 2007. "Sweden. Why Educational Expansion Is Not Such a Great Strategy for Equality: Theory and Evidence", pp. 113-139 in Y. Shavit, R. Arum, and A. Gamoran (eds.), Stratification in Higher Education: A Comparative Study. Stanford, Cal.: Stanford University Press.

However, even if educational expansion has not increased (relative) social mobility much by equalizing educational attainment, it has nonetheless been important for increasing social mobility. This is because the general increase in educational attainment pushes more and more people into higher levels of education, where the association between social origin class and own (destination) class is comparatively low (at least in Sweden) - this is demonstrated in an article with Richard Breen. Social mobility also increased in Sweden because educational inquality was reduced (a reduction that probably stemmed from equalization of living conditions and educational reforms - see the publications together with Robert Erikson, below).

Breen, R. and J.O. Jonsson. 2007. "Explaining Change in Social Fluidity: Educational Equalization and Educational Expansion in Twentieth Century Sweden", American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 112, pp. 1775-1810. (Change in social fluidity).

Between 1993 and 1996 Robert Erikson and I published three volumes on educational inequality stemming from a Governmental Commission. The 1996 volume was published by Westview but sold out quickly and has since then been very difficult to find. The introduction from this volume, which summarizes much of our findings and put them into an international and theoretical perspective, can be downloaded below as Can Education be Equalized? (You need to rotate the file; try right-clicking.) The full reference is:

Erikson, Robert and Jan O. Jonsson. 1996. "Introduction: Explaining Class Inequality in Education: The Swedish Test Case”, pp. 1-64 in R. Erikson and J.O. Jonsson (eds.): Can Education Be Equalized? The Swedish Case in Comparative Perspective. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.

ETHNIC STRATIFICATION AND INTEGRATION
I am also engaged in studies of ethnic stratification. I am the PI for Sweden in a comparative project on the integration of ethnic minority school children (CILS4EU), led by Frank Kalter, Universität Mannheim (CILS4EU international homepage). The field work for the first wave of surveys, called Youth in Europe (YES!), was carried out in 2010/2011, the second wave in 2012, and the third in 2013. Around 5,000 14-year old students in 130 schools in Sweden are studied, and almost identical samples are surveyed in Germany, England, and the Netherlands. (Youth in Europe - YES!). The first report from this survey, in Swedish, was published as part of a recent governmental commission report on xenophobia. The report covers a range of issues related to the social relations, integration, and attitudes among young people, and it pinpoints the importance of ethnic segregation for many aspects of teenager's lives. A preliminary version in English can be downloaded here (Ethnic integration)

Jonsson, J.O., S.B. Låftman, F. Rudolphi, and P. Engzell Waldén. 2012. ”Integration, etnisk mångfald och attityder bland högstadieelever”, Bilaga 6 (pp. 263-391) to the Governmental Commission, SOU 2012:74, Främlingsfienden inom oss. Stockholm: Fritzes. The Appendix can be downloaded here: (Integration bland högstadieelever)

In a study on ethnic stratification in school performance and educational choice in Sweden, together with Frida Rudolphi, we find that some second generation ethnic minority groups fall behind in terms of grades, and mostly as a consequence they tend towards early failure; but almost all of these groups have high aspirations measured in terms of transition rates to academic upper secondary schooling, controlling for previous performance (grades):

Jonsson, J.O. and F. Rudolphi. 2011. “Weak performance – strong determination. School achievement and educational choice among ethnic minority students in Sweden.” European Sociological Review 27:487-508. (School achievement and educational choice)

When comparing Sweden with England, in an article co-authored with Michelle Jackson and Frida Rudolphi, we find that both countries exhibit very similar ethnic minority advantages in terms of choice, while school achievements differ depending on minority group (East Asian groups generally doing very well). We use longitudinal data and find that the pattern is the same when studying the transition to the university, again in both countries, and we discuss the interpretation that choice-driven educational systems, where selection on previous performance is relatively weak, benefit ethnic minority children as many of them have high aspirations.

Jackson, M., Jonsson, J.O., and F. Rudolphi. 2012. “Ethnic Inequality and Choice-Driven Educational Systems: A Longitudinal Study of Performance and Choice in England and Sweden.” Sociology of Education 85: 158-178. (Ethnic Inequality in Choice-driven Education Systems)

The similarities and differences in social and ethnic inequality in educational outcomes, based on performance and choice effects, are discussed in “Opening up the University: Measures for equalizing access to higher education”, pp. 31-36 in Heinrich Böll Stiftung's dossier Öffnung der Hochschule. Chancengerechtigkeit, Diversität, Integration, which can be downloaded here: (Social and ethnic inequality in education)

I have also made a contribution to a book on comparative studies on ethnic inequality, mostly studying the occupational attainment of second generation immigrants. The book was edited by Anthony Heath and Sin-Yi Cheung, Unequal Chances: Ethnic Minorities in Western Labour Markets, OUP 2007 (Jonsson Ch 11 in Heath & Cheung).

Ryszard Szulkin (at Stockholm University) and I also conducted a study on ethnic segregation in Swedish comprehensive schools, showing some negative effect of ethnic concentration, especially for recently migrated youth (Sulcis WP 2007:2).

STUDIES OF THE LEVEL OF LIVING: POVERTY IN SWEDEN
As responsible for the Swedish Level-of-Living Survey (LNU) (Level-of-Living (LNU)), I have an interest in research in the level and distribution of welfare. Recent publications in this area include two reports on poverty for The National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

C. Mood, J.O. Jonsson. 2013. "Ekonomisk utsatthet och välfärd bland barn och deras familjer 1968-2010." Underlagsrapport till Barns och ungas hälsa, vård och omsorg 2013 (Socialstyrelsen). (Barnfattigdom). English version: Poverty and Welfare among Children and their Families. (Child Poverty) Research Report 2014/2. Institute for Futures Studies, Stockholm.

We study child poverty, and changes in such poverty, comprehensively: Both in the conventional way, by analysing the family economy, and directly by using surveys with children themselves as respondents. We find that child poverty in Sweden is both extremely low internationally, and probably at something like all-time-low. Analyzed at family level, child poverty decreased markedly from the late 1960s, and also from around 2000. During the last years, there is not much change in material deprivation or poverty (defined in "absolute" terms), while since 2006 there has been a rapid increase in relative poverty, that is, in the distance between those with very low incomes and those with median incomes. This development has not (yet) left any traces in children's own reported poverty as compared to their friends. The biggest worry is not the overall spread of poverty among the young, but the very high levels of child poverty among children of immigrants and lone parents.

J.O. Jonsson, C. Mood, and E. Bihagen. 2010. "Fattigdomens förändring, utbredning och dynamik." Chapter 3 in Social Rapport 2010 (Socialstyrelsen). An English translation is available as SOFI Working Paper 10/2011.

We study the distribution and dynamics of poverty in Sweden 1991-2007, and the intergenerational transmission of poverty for cohorts born in 1960-1970. We find that the level of absolute poverty has decreased as a consequence of increased real incomes, while the level of relative poverty has increased as a consequence of increased income inequality. 50 percent of those who start a spell of absolute poverty leave it within a year, but among those who are poor in a given year, the majority are in a spell that will last five years or more. The risk of relapse into poverty is high: Eight years after leaving poverty, 50 percent has had at least one new spell of poverty. Poverty during childhood increases the risk of poverty in adulthood, but the transmission of affluence is stronger than the transmission of poverty: children from high-income households have a very high likelihood of having high incomes as adults.
Link to Ch 3 in Social Rapport (in Swedish): Chapter 3
Link to Social Rapport (entire report in Swedish): Social Rapport
Link to English translation, SOFI Working Paper 10/2011: Poverty in Sweden 1991-2007

STUDIES ON CHILDREN'S WELFARE
My work on children's welfare includes the recent report on child poverty and the CILS4EU project, both described above. I am also the PI of a research project funded by Forte on children's living conditions, that started in 2013. In 2010 I published an Editorial on child welfare and intergenerational processes in Child Indicators Research, for which I was the guest editor.

Jan O. Jonsson. 2010. "Child Well-Being and Intergenerational Inequality." Editorial, Child Indicators Research 3:1-10. (Editorial)

In LNU2000 we introduced a separate survey on children, 10-18 years of age, on the basis of which I published, together with co-authors, Barns och ungdomars välfärd (SOU 2001:55; see link below). This survey was later to be replicated in the ULF series, starting 2001, via a grant I had from FAS; and in 2010 we repeated the Child-LNU survey, as well as followed up the previous sample ten years after the first wave. A presentation in English of the Child-LNU study, with Viveca Östberg, is published in Child Indicators Research:

J.O. Jonsson and V. Östberg. 2010. "Studying Young People's Level of Living: The Swedish Child-LNU." Child Indicators Research 3:47-64. (Child-LNU)

A study based on Child-LNU 2000 and the first waves of Child-ULF, on young people's economic resources and consequences of hardship, written together with Viveca Östberg, is published as Chapter 5 in Ekonomiskt utsatta barn. (Ds 2004:41)

A critical view of sociology is given by Tom Lehrer. An introduction in Swedish to Tom Lehrer and his music can be found here.

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