Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RS16_05: Spatial Mobilities: Consequences for Social Status and Civic Engagement
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Gil Viry, University of Edinburgh
Session Chair: Knut Petzold, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Location: BS.4.05B
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Fourth Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road

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The Link Between Spatial and (Upward) Mobility of Higher Education Staff: Approaches for Identifying Causal Effects.

Silke Kohrs

Technical University Dortmund, Germany

In recent years, the relevance of spatial mobility in the academic field has steadily increased. According to many studies this phenomenon applies to students as well as to academics and researchers, concerning movement within countries and across borders, for short- and long-term periods. Moreover, intensified social changes such as globalization and the development of communication technologies let assume that this trend will proceed.

Based on the current state of research I will discuss the role of spatial mobility and the link between spatial and (upward) social mobility of academics in Germany. Does mobility determine a ‘successful’ academic career and are there differences in the various ways of spatial mobilities (e.g. commuting or moving house)? Special attention is paid not only to the link between spatial and social mobility, but also to causal effects.

Besides these conceptual issues, another main approach is to present methodological challenges resulting from quantitative analysis of intragenerational social mobility and linked working places, focussed on career paths for scientists and researchers. Further, in the matter of analysing causal effects there are particularly conditions on data (e.g. longitudinal structure) and variables (e.g. attitudes as well as ‘objective’ facts concerning the academic life course) to be addressed.

The presentation will be completed by an outlook on how different methods, such as sequence pattern analysis and modern causal analysis, can be used and on potential opportunities and disadvantages depending on the conceptual considerations.

Is Weekend Commuting Really Paying Off? A Panel Analysis of Germany

Nico Stawarz, Heiko Rüger, Thomas Skora

Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB), Germany

Second homes and weekend commuting are frequently used strategies for dealing with large distances between the place of work and the place of residence. In the literature, it is expected that work-related spatial mobility is positively associated with career achievement. The positive effects are assumed to be due to (i) spatially mobile workers having a larger job search area, (ii) career gains being greater if people commute to specific destinations with many job opportunities, (iii) spatial mobility serving as a mechanism to accumulate human capital. So far, surprisingly little attention has been paid on the relationship between work-related multi-local living arrangements and career mobility. Therefore, our main question is whether the start of a weekend commuting episode is associated with an income increase.

We apply fixed effects panel regression models to data of the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP). We use information about the distance between the primary home and the workplace (≥ 150 km) and the frequency of commuting (weekly or less often) to operationalise work-related multi-locality and the individual monthly gross income in euro as an indicator of occupational success.

Our results show that in the year in which the commuting episode started, the income rises by about 9 percent (or 200 euros). Two years after the onset of commuting, the income is on average 20 percent (around 415 euros) higher than before the onset of commuting. The paper will also explore how these results are linked to other mobility decisions (like relocation) and other characteristics (like gender).

Returns and Non-returns of Internationally Mobile Students and Intergenerational Social Mobility: Friends or Foes?

Miloslav Bahna

Institute for Sociology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovak Republic

Observations of positive selectivity of international student mobility (ISM) participants with regard to class, support seeing ISM as strategy of distinction. Indeed, international students returning to their home country seem to generally profit from the distinction their education and contacts offer at the local labour market. However, research from European countries as diverse as Slovakia and Denmark suggests that around a half of ISM participants do not return to their home country after their graduation. Does having international education provide an advantage also in this case? And how is intergenerational transfer of social status affected by the decision to stay or return after experiencing ISM? The data for our study are from the Brain drain 2014 survey which was carried out in Slovakia in late 2014 and early 2015. The survey asked parents of students who graduated in 2012 or earlier from a university abroad about their children and themselves. While the occupations of ISM returnees and non-returnees do not differ significantly, the similarity of occupational status of graduates and their fathers is higher among those, who returned home after graduating abroad. As non-returns are also positively selective with regard to class, this results in lower occupational status of non-returnees when compared to returnees with the same family background. Indeed, using structural equation modelling, we show, that, compared to ISM returnees, intergenerational reproduction of occupational status is weaker among non-returnees. This suggests that many of the various capitals of a graduate’s family are location-specific and are not internationally transferable.

Does Weekend Commuting Hinder Civic Engagement? Findings From Germany

Heiko Rüger, Thomas Skora

Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB), Germany

In this paper, we investigate the relationship between weekend commuting (i.e. the use of an occupational secondary residence in connection with commuting, usually on weekends) and civic engagement. Since such a multi-local living arrangement means time-consuming and often stressful commuting (“commuter’s strain hypothesis”, Newman et al. 2014) as well as periodic absence from the main residence, possibly associated with a feeling of being uprooted (“re-potting hypothesis”, Putnam 2000), we expect a negative effect on civic engagement. We apply fixed effects panel regressions to longitudinal data for the years 1997-2015 from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) which is representative of private households in Germany (N=120,349 observations from 25,391 individuals). Weekend commuting is measured by using information about the distance between the main residence and the workplace and the frequency of commuting. Civic engagement is measured by the frequency of (i) volunteer work in clubs or social services and (ii) participation in a citizens' group, political party or local government. The results show that after the onset of a weekend commuting episode employees are significantly less regularly involved in volunteer work than before the onset of commuting. However, there seems to be no effect on the aspects of political participation considered here. In addition, our results shed some light on the question of whether possible changes in the forms of civic engagement (e.g. whether activities are carried out locally or non-local) have led to a change in the relationship between mobility and engagement over time.

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