Inequality, Social Mobility and Career Ladders

By Anirudh Krishna

This paper advances three related claims. First, raising social mobility and enhancing equality of opportunity are important for dealing with rising inequality. Second, promoting broad human development and raising individuals’ advanced capabilities is a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for raising social mobility. Third, investments are required in more and better career ladders that offer clearly defined and well- regulated opportunities to climb higher and higher along one’s chosen career path. For widespread social mobility to occur, multiple accessible career ladders need to exist, and people should be able to acquire advanced capabilities associated with climbing them. Diverse methods can be used for measuring social mobility and assessing career ladders. Some examples are presented in Annex 1, while a case study on building a career ladder is in Annex 2.