Academic Profile

People Feature

Richard Breen

Professorial Fellow
Professor of Sociology

Research Interests: Social stratification, intergenerational mobility and inequality, the application of formal models in the social sciences, and quantitative methods.

I am Professor of Sociology at Oxford University and a Fellow of Nuffield College. I am a Fellow of the British Academy, a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, and a Member of Academia Europaea. I have worked extensively on inequality and intergenerational mobility and have edited two cross-national, comparative studies of social mobility: Social Mobility In Europe (OUP 2004) and (with Walter Müller) Education and Intergenerational Social Mobility in Europe and the United States (Stanford UP, 2020). Much of my recent work has focussed on the relationship between demography and inequality, particularly the role of assortative mating and fertility differences. I am also interested in quantitative methodological topics, especially the question of how to identify and estimate causal effects using observational data.

Richard Breen


Social Mobility in Europe, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004.

(with John H. Goldthorpe), 'Explaining Educational Differentials: Towards a Formal Rational Action Theory', Rationality and Society, 9(3):275-305, 1997.

'Risk, Recommodification, and the Future of the Service Class', Sociology, 31(3):473-489, 1997.

(with D.F. Hannan, D.B. Rottman, C.T. Whelan), Understanding Contemporary Ireland: State, Class and Development in the Republic of Ireland , The Macmillan Press, London, 1990.

(with Ruud Luijkx, Walter Müller and Reinhard Pollak), 'Non-Persistent Inequality in Educational Attainment: Evidence from Eight European Countries', American Journal of Sociology, 114(5):1475-1521, 2009.