Intergenerational transfer of occupational status in nineteenth century Zeeland, The Netherlands: A test of the influence of industrialisation, mass communication and urbanisation in 117 municipalities

Richard L. Zijdeman

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6 Citations (Scopus)
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Purpose – This paper seeks to study the influence of industrialisation, urbanisation and means of communication on the association between father’s and son’s occupational status in all 117 municipalities in the province of Zeeland, The Netherlands from 1811 to 1890. Design/methodology/approach – Hypotheses from both the logic of industrialism thesis and reproduction theory are tested with multi-level analyses on data on the individual as well as the contextual level. First, the paper studies the influence of contextual factors on intergenerational occupational status attainment. Second, it uses relatively large-scale individual and contextual historical data over a long period of time. Findings – The paper adds to the current literature by showing that the association of father’s and son’s occupational status differs between municipalities and over time and that these differences are partly explained by industrialisation, urbanisation and means of communication. All findings point in one direction, that the province of Zeeland became a more closed society in the nineteenth century. This finding goes against claims that the increasing openness in Dutch society, found after the Second World War, is a trend that came about with the rise of industrialisation. Originality/value – The results provide support for the reproduction theory and they refute the logic of the industrialism thesis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204
Number of pages1
JournalInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Urban economies
  • Mass communications
  • Industrialised economies
  • Social mobility
  • Social status

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