Summarizes the findings of the previous 12 empirical chapters and discusses issues in the development of explanatory theories of social mobility. The chapter also addresses two sorts of explanation of variations in social mobility: micro-models in which the role of education is central, and macro-models, which seek to relate mobility to features of societies as a whole such as their level of inequality and of economic development. The chapter looks at the policy consequences that follow from our results, particularly as these concern the role of the educational system. A final assessment in which the adequacy of existing theories of social mobility is called into doubt concludes the chapter.
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