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CEP discussion paper
Upward Social Mobility, Well-being and Political Preferences: Evidence from the BHPS
Andrew E. Clark and Emanuela D'Angelo
December 2013
Paper No' CEPDP1252:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: A14; C25; D31; D63; J28; J62

Tags: social mobility; satisfaction; redistribution; inequality; voting

The paper uses 18 waves of BHPS data to provide evidence of the roles of both own social status and upward mobility relative to one's parents on job and life satisfaction, preferences for redistribution, pro-public sector attitudes and voting. Both own social status and greater mobility with respect to parents are positively associated with subjective well-being. However, this symmetric effect disappears for political preferences. While greater social status is associated with less favourable attitudes to redistribution and the public sector, greater upward mobility is associated with more Left-wing attitudes. These attitudes translate into actual reported voting behaviour. Upwards social mobility produces satisfied Left-wingers.