Socio-economic and ethnic inequalities in social capital from the family among labour market entrants

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  • Authors:
  • Pieter Paul Verhaeghe
  • Yaojun Li
  • Bart Van De Putte


This study investigates how the socio-economic positions of the parents shape the access to social capital of their children. We examine the influence of three parental socio-economic positions on the access to three job-finding resources from the family among labour market entrants. In addition, we examine how ethnic differences in family social capital are rooted in the unequal socio-economic positions of different ethnic categories. For these purposes, we collected data from 2,176 labour market entrants in Belgium and designed an instrument to measure three types of job-finding resources: labour market information, job information, and encouragement to search for a job. Moreover, we used a multidimensional perspective on social stratification by examining the educational levels, the social class positions, and the employment statuses of the parents. Our results show substantial socio-economic inequalities in family social capital: labour market entrants whose parents are higher educated, employed and/or from the service class have more access to job-finding resources from the family. Moreover, ethnic minorities in Belgium, especially the Turks, Moroccans, and Balkans, have less access to job-finding resources from the family than natives. These findings demonstrate the powerful interplay of parental socio-ethnic influences in shaping inequalities in social capital. Moreover, it is the first crucial step to establish how socio-economic inequalities are reproduced over generations through the functioning of social capital. © The Author 2012.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-694
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Sociological Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013

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