Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis



Reader 1

Roberto Pedace

Reader 2

Sean Flynn

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© 2014 Anne Miles


The purpose of this paper is to provide insight into the personality traits that are associated with socioeconomic mobility, specifically pertaining to individuals from working class backgrounds. Socioeconomic mobility is an important issue to examine due to the persistence of intergenerational poverty and the difficulty with which to resolve it. Extensive research explicitly shows the dilemma of intergenerational transmission of poverty exists and continues to persist regardless of revised policies. Many aspects each individual experiences have been proven to affect economic attainment, such as race, family background, parental efficacy, social discrimination, area of residency, welfare, education, and intelligence. Although these are recognized in this paper, they are, for the most part, ignored as determinants, as the focus is on the personality traits defining the upwardly mobile, and similar characteristics exist, even while disregarding the above ignored qualities. Mainly social identity theory and identity theory, but also motivational theory, personal efficacy theories, and other related theories, have determined social participation, perception of social class and poverty, control of emotions, impulse control, personal efficacy, social identity, motivation, victimization and dependence or the lack thereof, are all major determinants of mobility.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.