We introduce what we have coined the multiplier effect. We explain the steep upward mobility of children of low-educated immigrants by studying how they overcome obstacles on their regular pathway, via alternative routes or through loopholes in the education and labour market system. The idea of the multiplier effect is that they virtually propel themselves forward in their careers. Essential is that each successful step forward offers new possibilities on which they build, thereby accumulating cultural and social capital and multiplying their chances of success. Initial small differences with their less successful co-ethnic peers generate an increasingly wider gap over time. Cultural and social capital theories primarily explain the reproduction of inequalities in society. The multiplier effect explains the breaking of the perpetual cycle of this reproduction, enabling steep upward mobility even when this group does not initially possess the right cultural and social capital to be successful.

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doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2017.1245431, hdl.handle.net/1765/94122
Ethnic and Racial Studies
Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology (CROCUS)

Crul, M., Schneider, J. (Jens), Keskiner, E., & Lelie, F. (Frans). (2017). The multiplier effect: how the accumulation of cultural and social capital explains steep upward social mobility of children of low-educated immigrants. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 40(2), 321–338. doi:10.1080/01419870.2017.1245431