Opponent är Professor Yaojun Li, The University of Manchester.

Abstract

The thesis explores the role of social capital in shaping inequality among young adults. Social capital is defined as resources embedded in a social network and the thesis investigates differences in access to social capital, and the effects in the labor market and the housing market. The thesis consists of four empirical studies and an introductory chapter that develops the theoretical and empirical background. The four empirical studies use a Swedish survey titled “Social Capital and Labor Market Integration” that includes individuals born in 1990 living in Sweden. A gross sample based on three subsamples was selected based on the country of birth of the respondents’ parents (Sweden, former Yugoslavia, or Iran). The survey consists of two waves of panel data and most respondents were 19 years old at the time of the first survey and 22 at the time of the second. The four studies investigate: (1) the effect of social class and migration background on access to social capital through national and transnational ties, (2) the effect of socioeconomic segregation in schools and neighborhoods on access to social capital through occupational networks and close friendship ties, (3) the effect of social capital in the process of labor market entry, and (4) the effect of social capital on the likelihood to move away from parents. All four studies measure social capital with ego network measures and the main measurement is the position generator that asks the respondent about contacts in occupational positions spanning the socioeconomic structure. Results show that family background factors and socioeconomic segregation affects access to social capital, and that social capital affects labor market and housing market outcomes. The thesis concludes that social capital is an important factor to understand unequal outcomes among young adults.