Human Capital

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Sociology – October 18th lecture
Writing assignment stuff: select activity in which you engage in emotional labor/describe how you do this; one theoretical perspective to analyze this activity (one of those things from the list); explain how you understand activity better because of the perspective Lecture 11—Human Capital and Stratification Theory

Topics
-Income Distribution in Canada
-Human Capital Theory
-Functionalist Theory of Stratification
Income distribution in Canada
-Figure 6.2, pg 122
-The top percentile has a bigger chunk of the distribution (from 1976 to 2007)
-Why do some people fall into highest quintile and some into the lowest?
-Number of ways of analyzing this data—from social structure to individualistic explanation
-Individualistic: individual attributes—people are poor because they lack natural talents; no
talents, no economic reward—pretty commonsense approach to social inequality—promoted by
mainstream economists—those with best abilities and skills are rewarded Human Capital Theory
-Gary Becker—Human Capital—neoclassical approach: economy orders stuff!
-Human Capital: The abilities, skills, knowledge, and experience that an individual possesses or a
group of individuals possess. Human capital must be nurtured through training and education.
The more investment in human capital, the better the rewards (higher productivity for the
society or higher personal income for an individual)
-At face value, the theory makes sense. Logically, if you work more and acquire more skills, you
earn more; the more government invests in society, the better the society will be and earn more
-On both ends (individual and government) the result is monetary gain
-Logic: suffer now, invest in future—education is an investment in human capital, with future
return of investment
-HOWEVER
-There are structural barriers in place that prevent people from acquiring skills
-This makes education a means to an...
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