The production and reproduction of political inequality

Project title

The production and reproduction of political inequality

Project summary

Political mobility within and between generations is an important facet of a well-functioning democracy because it facilitates the equalization of political influence across individuals and families. However, whereas there is plenty of research on social and economic mobility, much less is known about the transmission of political inequality within and between generations. For instance, how persistent is the level of political involvement over the life course of an individual?  To what extent are children to politically active parents more likely to vote or run for political office themselves? Has the degree of political mobility changed over time? And if so, why is that the case?

The purpose of the current project is to answer vital questions such as these. An important reason for the lack of research on political mobility is that it is very data. Studies of political mobility between generations, so-called intergenerational mobility, requires access to relevant, and comparable, measures of political participation for both parents and their children. Whereas the study of mobility over the life-cycle, i.e., intragenerational mobility, presupposes repeated measures of political participation for the same individuals over long periods of time.

In this project we therefore suggest using data from Swedish registers to make progress on these important issues. By complementing existing data resources with the collection of additional information on political participation available in historical archives we will be able to study the development of political mobility in Sweden during most of its democratic history.

Project duration


Main applicant

Karl-Oskar Lindgren


Swedish Research Council

Amount received

SEK 3,850,000

Last modified: 2021-03-09