Wednesday 19 September 2018

From treadmills to stairwells: social mobility across advanced economies

In recent decades, social mobility has stalled across advanced economies. The UK picture is more mixed – but recent OECD research found that richer families are more likely to stay rich and that the slow pace of mobility means it would take five generations for a poor family to reach average income.

Looking across advanced economies, what approaches have been successful in supporting people on lower incomes to move up the ladder? Where is the UK doing well at in terms of fostering social mobility, where is it struggling, and what lessons can we learn from abroad?

At an event at its Westminster headquarters, the Resolution Foundation welcomed Mark Pearson, the OECD’s Deputy Director of Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, who presented new analysis on social mobility trends across advanced economies, with particular reference to the UK. He was joined by a panel of experts, before taking part in an audience Q&A.


  • Mark Pearson – Deputy Director of Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, OECD
  • Jonathan Slater – Permanent Secretary for the Department for Education
  • Lindsey Macmillan – Reader in Economics, UCL
  • Lucy Powell – MP for Manchester Central
  • David Willetts – Executive Chair of the Resolution Foundation (Chair)