Norwegian version

A Fair Chance? How Geography Shapes Life Opportunities (FAIR)

The project addresses how the spatial context in which people live during different stages of their lives shape their life prospects and socioeconomic outcomes.

The opportunity to move up the socioeconomic ladder, both during one’s lifetime and in relation to one’s parents, has been recognized as a key matter for combating poverty and reducing inequality. This is the premise for the project, to which we add an increasingly relevant dimension by asking: “How does the spatial context in which people live during different stages of their lives shape their life prospects and socioeconomic outcomes?”.

Over time, the determinants of an individual’s socioeconomic position have evolved from a focus on individual choice, to the family as the main avenue for social reproduction through the transmission of parental endowments and parental investments in their offspring. More recently, socioeconomic mobility has evolved, as a process that plays out in multiple spheres of life – the family, the school, the workplace, the friendship circle, the neighborhood and in addition a wider geographical context of the neighborhood, capturing institutional and economic structures.

The project is justified by a further need for knowledge on what the close geographical context means and in addition, the importance of the wider geographical context for people’s opportunities to move up the social ladder.

Five core questions

The project structures around five core questions. We investigate;

  1. whether geographical mobility is a prerequisite for socioeconomic mobility
  2. the mobility prospects for individuals who graduate from institutions of higher education in smaller, medium-sized and larger places
  3. how, where you grew up as a child, matter for labor-market attainment
  4. how different dimensions of childhood residential context affect adult outcomes
  5. whether there are potential links between family wealth acquired in regions of different size and centrality and individual life chances.

The project has an empirical approach, and we utilize large-scale register data, taking due account of the selection and simultaneity problems inherent in the phenomena studied.

  • Participants at OsloMet

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    • Partner Institutions

      • University of Oslo
      • Wayne State University
      • Michigan State University