A list of my publications is below.  I aim to make all of my articles open access in the future, and am working on gaining permissions for those already published.  Articles with an abstract included below can be downloaded from here; other articles include a link to the publisher's website.  If you would like a copy of an article that is not accessible, please email me.





Jackson, M. (ed.).  (2013)  Determined to Succeed?  Performance versus Choice in Educational Attainment.  Stanford: Stanford University Press.

In many countries, concern about socio-economic inequalities in educational attainment has focused on inequalities in test scores and grades. The presumption has been that the best way to reduce inequalities in educational outcomes is to reduce inequalities in performance. But is this presumption correct?

Determined to Succeed? is the first book to offer a comprehensive cross-national examination of the roles of performance and choice in generating inequalities in educational attainment. It combines in-depth studies by country specialists with chapters discussing more general empirical, methodological, and theoretical aspects of educational inequality. The aim is to investigate to what extent inequalities in educational attainment can be attributed to differences in academic performance between socio-economic groups, and to what extent they can be attributed to differences in the choices made by students from these groups. The contributors focus predominantly on inequalities related to parental class and parental education.


Jackson, M. (2018). “Expansion, Enrollment and Inequality of Educational Opportunity,” Sociological Methods and Research.

Jackson, M. and Grusky, D.B.  (2018).  “A Post‐Liberal Theory of Stratification,” British Journal of Sociology.

Jackson, M., and Grusky, D.B.  (2017).  “The Big Picture: Unequal America,” Public Books.

Figure 1.png

Jackson, M. and Evans, G.  (2017).  “Rebuilding Walls. Market Transition and Social Mobility in the Post-Socialist Societies of Europe,” Sociological Science.

"We ask whether the transition from socialism to the market is consequential for social mobility, and, by implication, the permeability of class structures. While the short-term effects of market transition on patterns of social mobility have been documented for a small number of countries, we are able to examine the long-term effects of market transition for a group of 13 central and eastern European (CEE) countries. Only in the longer term can we properly appreciate the settled effects of transition on the distribution of resources, the organization of class and economic structures, and the transmission of inequalities across generations. We use data drawn from nationally representative cross-national surveys of CEE countries to compare patterns of social mobility in the early 1990s with those in the late 2000s. We find a significant decline in relative social mobility between the two periods and show that this decline is a consistent feature of mobility patterns across the region. We argue that changes in the institutions that regulate the transfer of capital across generations are likely to explain why the move from socialism to the market is associated with declining levels of social fluidity."

Jackson, M.  (2017).  “Don't let ‘Conversation One’ Squeeze Out ‘Conversation Two’,” Pathways, Spring.


Jackson, M. and Buckner, E.  (2016).  “Opportunity without Equity: Educational Inequality and Constitutional Protections in Egypt,” Sociological Science.

"The claim that the law can be an inequality-reducing weapon is a staple of legal and political discourse. Although it is hard to dispute that legal provisions sometimes work to reduce inequality, we argue that, at least in the domain of equal opportunity in education, the pattern of these effects can be more perverse than has typically been appreciated. Positive laws implemented in the name of promoting equality of opportunity may yield only a narrowly formal equality, with the goal of substantive equality undermined because a high-profile reform will often expose the pathway to educational success. The pathway, once exposed, can then be navigated and successfully subverted by the socioeconomically advantaged. We illustrate such pitfalls of a positive legal approach by examining educational inequality in Egypt, a country with long-standing constitutional protections for equality of opportunity in education. Using data recently collected from a cohort of young people, we show that despite the institutional commitments to equality of opportunity present in Egypt, privileged families have a range of options for subverting the aims of positive legal provisions. We argue that the pattern of educational inequality in Egypt is distinctive relative to countries without similar legal protections."

Jackson, M.  (2014).  “Performance, Choice and Educational Inequality,” in Grusky, D. (Ed.)  Social Stratification.  Class, Race, and Gender in Sociological Perspective.  Westview Press.

Jackson, M. and Cox, D.R.  (2013).  “The Principles of Experimental Design and Their Application in Sociology,” Annual Review of Sociology.

"In light of an increasing interest in experimental work, we provide a review of some of the general issues involved in the design of experiments and illustrate their relevance to sociology and to other areas of social science of interest to sociologists. We provide both an introduction to the principles of experimental design and examples of influential applications of design for different types of social science research. Our aim is twofold: to provide a foundation in the principles of design that may be useful to those planning experiments and to provide a critical overview of the range of applications of experimental design across the social sciences."

Jackson, M.  (2013).  “How is Inequality of Educational Opportunity Generated?  The Case for Primary and Secondary Effects,” in Jackson, M. (Ed.)  Determined to Succeed?  Performance versus Choice in Educational Attainment.  Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Kartsonaki, C., Jackson, M. and Cox, D.R.  (2013).  “Primary and Secondary Effects: Some Methodological Issues,” in Jackson, M. (Ed.)  Determined to Succeed?  Performance versus Choice in Educational Attainment.  Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Jackson, M.  (2013).  “Social Background and Educational Transitions in England,” in Jackson, M. (Ed.)  Determined to Succeed?  Performance versus Choice in Educational Attainment.  Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Jackson, M. and Jonsson, J.O.  (2013).  “Why does Inequality of Educational Opportunity vary across Countries? Primary and Secondary Effects in Comparative Context,” in Jackson, M. (Ed.)  Determined to Succeed?  Performance versus Choice in Educational Attainment.  Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Jackson, M.  (2012).  “Bold Choices.  How Ethnic Inequalities in Educational Attainment are Suppressed,” Oxford Review of Education, 38, 189-208.

Jackson, M., Jonsson, J.O. and Rudolphi, F.  (2012).  “Ethnic Inequality in Choice-Driven Education Systems.  A Longitudinal Study of Performance and Choice in England and Sweden,” Sociology of Education, 85, 2, 158-178.

Jackson, M.  (2010).  “Investigating Inequalities in Educational Attainment,” in J. Stillwell, P. Norman, C. Thomas. and P. Surridge. (Eds.) Spatial and Social Disparities: Understanding Population Trends and Processes, Volume 2.  Springer: Dordrecht.

Jackson, M.  (2009).  “Disadvantaged through Discrimination.  The Role of Employers in Social Stratification,” British Journal of Sociology, 60, 4, 669-692.

Cox, D.R., Jackson, M. and Lu, S.  (2009) “On Square Ordinal Contingency Tables: A Comparison of Social Class and Income Mobility for the Same Individuals,” Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A (Statistics in Society), 172, 2, 483-493.

Jackson, M.  (2008)  “Content Analysis,” in J. Neale (Ed.), Research Methods for Health and Social Care.  Palgrave.

Jackson, M., Luijkx, R., Pollak, R., Vallet, L.-A. and Van de Werfhorst, H.  (2008)  “Educational Fields of Study and the Intergenerational Mobility Process in Comparative Perspective,” International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 49, 4-5, 369-388.

Goldthorpe, J.H. and Jackson, M.  (2008) “Problems of an Education-Based Meritocracy,” in A. Lareau and D. Conley (Eds.), Social Class. How Does it Work?  Russell Sage Foundation Press.

Goldthorpe, J.H. and Jackson, M.  (2007)  “Intergenerational Class Mobility in Contemporary Britain: Political Concerns and Empirical Findings,” British Journal of Sociology, 58, 4, 525-546.

Jackson, M.  (2007)  “How Far Merit Selection?  Social Stratification and the Labour Market,” British Journal of Sociology, 58, 3, pp. 367-390.

Jackson, M., Erikson, R., Goldthorpe, J.H. and Yaish, M. (2007)  “Primary and Secondary Effects in Class Differentials in Educational Attainment: The Transition to A-Level Courses in England and Wales,” Acta Sociologica, 50, 3, 211-229.

Jackson, M.  (2006)  “Personality Traits and Occupational Attainment,” European Sociological Review, 22, 2, 187-199.

Erikson, R., Goldthorpe, J.H., Jackson, M., Yaish, M. and Cox, D.R.  (2005) “On Class Differentials in Educational Attainment,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 102, 27, 9730–9733.

"Social class differentials in educational attainment have been extensively studied in numerous countries. In this paper, we begin by examining class differentials in the progression to higher secondary education among 16-year-old children in England and Wales. As has been shown for other countries, the differentials result both from the primary effects of differing levels of academic performance of children of different class background and from the secondary effects of differences in the educational choices that these children make at given levels of performance. Through counterfactual analyses in which the performance distribution of one class is combined with the choice distribution of another, primary and secondary effects are decomposed and the former are shown to be roughly three times the size of the latter."

Jackson, M., Goldthorpe, J.H. and Mills, C.  (2005)  “Education, Employers, and Class Mobility,” Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 23, 3-34.

Jackson, M.  (2001) “Non-Meritocratic Job Requirements and the Reproduction of Class Inequality: An Investigation,” Work, Employment, and Society, 3, 15, 619-630.