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Status Attainment

The status attainment (SA) model that Peter Blau and Otis Dudley Duncan elucidated in The American Occupational Structure (1967) represented a watershed moment for social stratification research. The first half of the 20th century had witnessed a historical shift from manual to nonmanual occupations in the United States. Individuals born during this period experienced a loosening of the bonds between ascriptive (e.g., race and ethnicity) characteristics and schooling. Meanwhile, schooling was beginning to supplant family origin as the chief predictor of occupational attainment. Blau and Duncan's model provided the first thorough examination of the mechanisms that linked father's occupational origins and son's occupational destinations through educational and social experiences across childhood and adolescence. The availability of new data and innovations in statistical techniques during the ...

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