Maximally maintained inequality and essentially maintained inequality: Crossnational comparisons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The implications of maximally maintained inequality (MMI) and its alternative essentially maintained inequality (EMI) for inequality of educational opportunity within societies and over time in those societies are well-understood and frequently addressed in the literature. MMI and EMI may also have implications for cross-national differences. The ISSP "Social Inequality" module fielded 1999-2001 provides highly comparable data useful for assessing hypotheses about cross-national variation in inequality of educational opportunity. Patterns of inequality of educational opportunity in the ISSP data are consistent with MMI and EMI: the association between socioeconomic background and education falls as the proportion of the labor force with postsecondary education rises.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-252
Number of pages16
JournalSociological Theory and Methods
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006


  • Education
  • Inequality
  • Stratification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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