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Journal Article

Career Opportunities in the Federal Republic of Germany: A Dynamic Approach to the Study of Life-Course, Cohort, and Period Effects

Hans-Peter Blossfeld
European Sociological Review
Vol. 2, No. 3 (Dec., 1986), pp. 208-225
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/522384
Page Count: 18
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Career Opportunities in the Federal Republic of Germany: A Dynamic Approach to the Study of Life-Course, Cohort, and Period Effects
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Abstract

In this article it is proposed to introduce the changing labor market structure into intra-generational mobility research in order to treat adequately the time-dependent nature of the attainment process. Using a large life-history data-set on the full career trajectories of German males from the birth cohorts 1929-31, 1939-41, and 1949-51 up to age at interview, together with several time-series indicating the development of the social and economic structure of the Federal Republic of Germany, the identification problem in models estimating cohort, life-course, and period effects is at the same time solved. The empirical analysis provides evidence that there are strong life-course, cohort, and period effects. The attainment process is time-dependent in a threefold sense. It depends on time spent in the labor force, it depends on the historical time of entry into the labor market, and it depends on the actual historical time. On the basis of these results it is argued that analyses of standard mobility tables which distinguish structural mobility and exchange mobility on a cross-sectional basis give a misleading picture of the mechanisms of attainment.

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