Changing classes, changing preferences: how class mobility affects economic preferences.

While many studies have identified an association between social class and economic preferences, we know little about the implications of changes in class location for these preferences. This paper assesses how social class and intra-generational class mobility affect economic preferences drawing on longitudinal data from the British Household Panel Survey. In doing so, the paper adopts a post-industrial perspective that considers horizontal and vertical class divisions. Even when time-invariant characteristics of individuals are kept constant (through fixed-effects estimation), we find that both vertical and horizontal class location explain economic preferences. Thus, these estimations suggest that social class molds preferences, even when accounting for factors that can lead to selection into classes. Moreover, people who change classes hold different economic preferences than their peers in the class of origin, but do not completely assimilate into their class of destination. This implies that growing intra-generational class mobility could undermine the class basis of political conflict.