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Falling From Grace? The Psychological Impact of Downward Intragenerational Mobility
Unformatted Document Text:  22 other words, “Duncan‟s formulation did not adequately distinguish origin, destination and mobility effects. For example, respondents in a given destination will include both mobile and stable individuals, and the simple additive model will thus confuse the effects of destination with those of mobility” (Clifford and Heath 1993:53) While some have attempted to solve this problem (namely Brody and McRae 1987; Hope 1975), Sobel‟s method is the most widely accepted, and the only method used to model mobility effects in modern research (e.g. Breen 2001; Marshall and Firth 1999; Nieuwbeerta, De Graaf, and Ultee 2000). Sobel‟s Diagonal Reference models (1981; 1985) account for origin and destination effects by modeling mobile individuals as a weighted sum of nonmobile individuals (“stayers”) in a given individual‟s origin and destination class. Mobility effects are then modeled independently of origin and destination status. In other words, Sobel (1981:896) solves the identification problem by assuming that the primary referents for mobile individuals will be the nonmobile — or permanent — members of a given class or occupational status. According to Sobel, “mobility effects are effects over and above this partial determination, i.e., mobility effects are those systematic influences which are left after the process of acculturation (socialization to reference norms) has been modeled” (1981:896). However, while those who claim to solve the age-period-cohort problem in demography are often accused of making implausible assumptions with complicated statistical methods (see Glenn 2004; Smith 2004), Sobel‟s assumption is much more reasonable and theory-based. De Graaf and colleagues (1995:1007) rightly cite Sorokin (1959:509-510) in defense of this assumption, who writes: If we want to know the characteristic attitudes of a farmer, we do not go to a man who has been a farmer for a few months, but we go to one who is a farmer for life. On the other hand, take a man of any occupation who has followed it for a lifetime—be he a dentist, a fisher, a soldier, a professor, a

Authors: Houle, Jason.
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other words, “Duncan‟s formulation did not adequately distinguish origin, destination and 
mobility effects. For example, respondents in a given destination will include both mobile and 
stable individuals, and the simple additive model will thus confuse the effects of destination with 
those of mobility” (Clifford and Heath 1993:53)  
 
While some have attempted to solve this problem (namely Brody and McRae 1987; Hope 
1975), Sobel‟s method is the most widely accepted, and the only method used to model mobility 
effects in modern research (e.g. Breen 2001; Marshall and Firth 1999; Nieuwbeerta, De Graaf, 
and Ultee 2000). Sobel‟s Diagonal Reference models (1981; 1985) account for origin and 
destination effects by modeling mobile individuals as a weighted sum of nonmobile individuals 
(“stayers”) in a given individual‟s origin and destination class. Mobility effects are then modeled 
independently of origin and destination status.   
In other words, Sobel (1981:896) solves the identification problem by assuming that the 
primary referents for mobile individuals will be the nonmobile — or permanent — members of a 
given class or occupational status. According to Sobel, “mobility effects are effects over and 
above this partial determination, i.e., mobility effects are those systematic influences which are 
left after the process of acculturation (socialization to reference norms) has been modeled” 
(1981:896).  However, while those who claim to solve the age-period-cohort problem in 
demography are often accused of making implausible assumptions with complicated statistical 
methods (see Glenn 2004; Smith 2004), Sobel‟s assumption is much more reasonable and 
theory-based. De Graaf and colleagues (1995:1007) rightly cite Sorokin (1959:509-510) in 
defense of this assumption, who writes:  
If we want to know the characteristic attitudes of a farmer, we do not go to 
a man who has been a farmer for a few months, but we go to one who is a 
farmer for life. On the other hand, take a man of any occupation who has 
followed it for a lifetime—be he a dentist, a fisher, a soldier, a professor, a 


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