Reconsideration of a model of relative risk aversion: Generalization of the breen and goldthorpe model

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In this paper we generalize the Breen and Goldthorpe model of relative risk aversion hypothesis that explains the class differentials in educational attainment, in order to specify the condition that an advancement rate of children from service class origin exceeds that of working class origin. By expressing an advancement rate as an explicit function of parameters of a model, we also analyze an inequality of educational attainment by odds ratio that can be expressed as a function of theoretical advancement rate. Our model shows the condition that the odds ratio increases. Moreover, we reformulate a process of succeeding educational transition and analyze a function of theoretical advancement rate. We investigate the condition that the effect of class origin declines across transitions. One of the conditions is that median of distribution of subjective probability of success decrease as education level proceeds. This may reduce advancement rate for service class origin. The other condition is that the advancement rate for working class origin increases as much as that of service class origin when student from working class origin prefer service class to working class. These mechanisms may cause decline of class origin effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-75
Number of pages19
JournalSociological Theory and Methods
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Decline of class origin effect across educational transition
  • Inequality of educational attainment
  • Relative risk aversion


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