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Educational policies and social inequality in well-being among young adults
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0199-0435
2019 (English)In: British Journal of Sociology of Education, ISSN 0142-5692, E-ISSN 1465-3346, Vol. 40, no 5, p. 664-681Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Inequalities in health and well-being are important contemporary public health issues. This article is the first to investigate the institutional causes of inequality in well-being among youth in a comparative perspective. Data from the European Social Survey are used to analyse how educational policies moderate the association between social background and well-being. Multilevel techniques are used to investigate cross-level interactions between social background and educational policies on life satisfaction. Four indicators of inclusive educational policies are analysed: age of tracking, costs of education, enrolment rates, and second-chance opportunities in the educational system. The results show that educational policies indeed moderate the association between social background and well-being: inequalities as measured by the father’s social class are smaller in countries where educational policies are more inclusive. Moreover, the analysis shows that the moderating impact of education policies is mediated by individual-level education, activity status, and income.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2019. Vol. 40, no 5, p. 664-681
Keywords [en]
Educational policies, well-being, social inequality, inclusive education, youth
National Category
Social Work Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology) Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-154121DOI: 10.1080/01425692.2019.1576119ISI: 000463948700001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85063793112OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-154121DiVA, id: diva2:1270004
Available from: 2018-12-12 Created: 2018-12-12 Last updated: 2019-10-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Vulnerability and inequalities in health and wellbeing: the role of social policy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Vulnerability and inequalities in health and wellbeing: the role of social policy
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to investigate the moderating role of social policies for the association between vulnerable social positions and health and wellbeing. Vulnerable social positions are identified in relation to age-related transition points in to or out of the labour market. Specifically, the focal groups are young adults, on the route to establish themselves in the labour market, and older persons, having just left the labour market, and inequalities by labour market status, class, or gender within these age groups. The thesis moreover aims to contribute to the theoretical development of the comparative health literature, by developing and implementing a theoretical framework for analyzing the role of social policy for the health and wellbeing of vulnerable groups.

Data and methods: The aim is addressed through a cross-country comparative approach, by fitting multilevel regression models on harmonized individual level data from the European Social Survey. Specifically, cross-level interactions between social position and social policies are estimated, with self-reported general health and psychological wellbeing as outcomes. The focal social policies are pension systems and elderly care policies, as well as education policies.

Results and conclusions: Overall, the empirical results showed that public investment in, and public organization of, elderly care was associated with smaller health inequalities by both social class and gender, and that redistributive minimum pensions were associated with smaller inequalities by social class, while more status-maintaining standard pensions were associated with larger gender-based inequalities. Regarding the role of education policies, the analyses showed that inclusive policies – specifically low degree of tracking, generous second chance opportunities, low out-of-pocket costs for, and a larger supply of, education – were associated with smaller inequalities by both social background and employment status. The overall conclusion of the thesis is that redistributive social policies, which distribute essential resources to vulnerable groups, have the potential to reduce inequalities in health and wellbeing between vulnerable and more advantaged groups.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2019. p. 101
Series
Studier i socialt arbete vid Umeå universitet : avhandlings- och skriftserie, ISSN 0283-300X ; 94
Keywords
Social policy, Welfare state, Vulnerability, Inequality, Social stratification, Health, Wellbeing
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-162921 (URN)978-91-7855-089-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-09-27, S Hörsal 205, Samhällsvetarhuset, Umeå, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-09-06 Created: 2019-09-02 Last updated: 2019-09-03Bibliographically approved

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Högberg, Björn

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