Kristian Bernt Karlson

Kristian Bernt Karlson

Associate Professor

Research areas

  • Educational stratification
  • Social mobility
  • Quantitative methods (econometrics)
  • Social science methodology

Office hours: I am on sabbatical in the 2019 Fall semester and therefore do not have any office hours.

Current research

My research covers three themes within the areas of social stratification and quantitative methodology.

First, I examine the mechanisms generating class inequalities in educational attainment in post-industrial societies. Particularly, I focus on the role played by adolescents’ educational expectations­­ – the beliefs they have about the value of and chances in completing future levels of schooling - in generating these inequalities. I find that these expectations and their development over the educational career strongly affect educational choices and inequalities therein. This finding holds even for Denmark, a country widely regarded as being among the most equal countries in the world.

Second, I am occupied by how to best measure inequality of opportunity in comparative mobility research. My research centers on quantifying the extent to which parents pass on to their children educational and social advantages, when these advantages are viewed as positional goods.

in collaboration with Richard Breen (Oxford University) and Anders Holm (University of Copenhagen), I have studied the utility of nonlinear probability models such as the logistic regression model in sociological research. Our research suggests new ways of interpreting and using coefficients from these models, particularly when it comes to comparing coefficients between models with different covariates or between groups. Today, our 2012 Sociological Methodology paper ranks among the top-1 percent most highly cited papers published in 2012 according to Web of Science, and is cited widely in journals as diverse as Criminology, Journal of Pediatrics, Demography, Health Economics, Social Forces, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Advances in Nutrition, Journal of Marriage and Family, Children and Youth Services Review, Social Science & Medicine, International Review of Victimology, Schizophrenia Bulletin, Public Opinion Quarterly, and PLoS Medicine.

Selected publications

Jæger, M.M. and K.B. Karlson (2018) "Cultural Capital and Educational Inequality: A Counterfactual Analysis." Forthcoming in Sociological Science. More information.

Breen, R., K.B. Karlson, and A. Holm (2018) "Interpreting and Understanding Logits, Probits, and other Non-Linear Probability Models." Annual Review of Sociology, 44, 39-54. More information.

Karlson, K.B. (2015) "Expectations on Track? High School Tracking and Adolescent Educational Expectations." Social Forces, 94, 115-141. More information.

Breen, R. and K.B. Karlson (2014) "Education and Social Mobility: New Analytical Approaches." European Sociological Review, 30, 107-118. More information.

Holm, A. M.M. Jæger, K.B. Karlson, and D. Reimer (2013) "Incomplete equalization: The effect of tracking in secondary education on educational inequality." Social Science Research, 42, 1431-1442. More information.

Karlson, K.B., A. Holm, and R. Breen (2012) "Comparing Regression Coefficients Between Same-sample Nested Models Using Logit and Probit: A New Method." Sociological Methdology, 42, 286-313. More information.

For more publications, see my profile on Google Scholar.

Research projects (externally funded)

2016-2020: Social mobility and geographic origin in Denmark (PI, funded by Kraks Fond, in collaboration with the Rockwool Foundation Research Unit).

2018-2020: LIFETRACK: Life Course Dynamics of Educational Tracking (PI, coordinator for Danish team in large european research project funded by NORFACE).

2018-2021: The Origins and Persistence of Inequality in Denmark (PI, with James Heckman, Stephen Durlauf, and Rasmus Landersø, funded by the Rockwool Foundation) 

2019-2021: Equality before the law and noncustodial alternatives to imprisonment: Lessons from 25 years of sentencing policy changes (with Lars H. Andersen og Signe H. Andersen, funded by ROCKWOOL FONDEN).

2019-2021: Family Background and Returns to Education (PI, funded by the Danish Research Council)

Selected research activities

Occasional peer reviewer at American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Social Forces, British Journal of Sociology, European Sociological Review, Sociology of Education, Social Science Research, Acta Sociologica, Research in Social Stratification and Mobility.

Consulting editor (statistics), YOUNG - Nordic Journal of Youth Research (2014-)

Invited lecture: Inferential limitations in logit and probit models in sociological research. Invitation by Hans-Peter Blossfeld. European University Institute (February 18, 2014).

Invited seminar: Seminar on the interpretation of parameters in non-linear probability models in sociological research. Invitation by John Goldthorpe. Nuffield College, Oxford University (October 2, 2013).

Conference attendance (with presentation): Social Mobility in the Americas, Center for Poverty and Inequality, Stanford University (April 24-25, 2015)

Research visit at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, DEMOSOC research group (Gösta Esping-Andersen), Barcelona, Spain (September 13 - October 2, 2015)

Research visit at Department of Sociology and Center for Research on Inequalities and the Life Course, Yale University (April 21 - May 6, 2014).

Professional positions

Appointed member of Government expert committee on student aid (2019)

Independent board member, "Center for Boligsocial Udvikling) (2016-)

Vice-President, Danish Sociological Association (2013-2016)

Vice-President, Nordic Sociological Association, (2014-2016)

Board member, Danish Sociological Association (2009-2017)

Head organizer of the Danish Sociological Conference 2014 (January 23-24, 2014)


ID: 32622398