Otis Dudley Duncan's major contributions to the study of social stratification

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Otis Dudley Duncan changed the course of social stratification research not once but twice. First he introduced measures, conceptual refinements, and methods that solved most of the problems that were leading to intellectual stagnation in the study of social mobility. His measurement advance was a scale that soon became known as the Duncan scale; it ranked the goodness of occupations on what approximated an interval scale. At this time, he also critiqued the prevailing view that social mobility represented the turnover of the occupational structure from one generation to the next and redefined the father's occupation as an attribute of the son or daughter, their social origin. He also showed how methods that geneticists and economists found useful could be adapted to the study of social stratification. In his second intervention, he demonstrated how destinations depend on origins in the mobility table and how the ideas and a version of the methods he had developed earlier applied to this form of data as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-118
Number of pages10
JournalResearch in Social Stratification and Mobility
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2007


  • Loglinear models
  • Otis Dudley Duncan
  • Social mobility
  • Social stratification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Otis Dudley Duncan's major contributions to the study of social stratification'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this