The effects of parents’ lifestyle on their children's status attainment and lifestyle in the Netherlands

Ineke Nagel*, Yannick Lemel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

We examine the extent to which parents affect their adult children's status attainment through parental lifestyle during their offspring's childhood. We also consider whether parents can be said to have ‘passed on’ their lifestyle to their adult children. Reflecting the Bourdieusian distinction between economic and cultural capital, we characterize the economic and cultural aspects of both parents’ and children's lifestyles in order to better understand the pattern of lifestyle transmission and reproduction. Our paper does not try to explore cultural taste and consumption in an inductive fashion, rather it develops hypotheses from Bourdieu's theory and tests these in an analytical design through structural equation modeling (SEM). The data, collected in 2000, refer to a sample of 399 young Dutch adults aged between 20 and 40 who were interviewed about a broad range of their lifestyle characteristics, derived from Bourdieu's ‘Distinction’. Their parents reported retrospectively on the prevailing lifestyle of the parental home at the time their child was around 12 years of age. We conclude that parents pass their lifestyle on to their children. Children raised by parents who had a more strongly culturally oriented lifestyle have, as adults, a more strongly culturally oriented lifestyle themselves, and those raised by parents who had a lifestyle that was oriented more strongly towards luxury have as adults a more strongly luxury-oriented lifestyle. We also find that both the cultural and economic dimensions of parents’ lifestyle bring about relative advantage in terms of the education, occupation, and income of their adult children. As such, the cultural and economic dimensions of parents’ lifestyle are mechanisms by which parents pass on their social status to their children. We also find some indications that the cultural status dimension is more important than the economic dimension in the intergenerational transmission of social status.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101357
JournalPoetics
Volume74
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

Keywords

  • Cultural capital
  • Cultural reproduction
  • Economic capital
  • Lifestyle

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