The study investigates the relationship between intergenerational social class mobility and subjective well-being in Japan. It considers the macro-social context and examines how socioeconomic changes affect the association between intergenerational social class mobility and life satisfaction. Based on data drawn from the Social Stratification and Social Mobility Survey from 1985 to 2015 for both males and females, we adopted the diagonal reference model to measure the effects of origin, destination, and mobility. We found that the life satisfaction of mobile members was mainly determined by their destination rather than their origin classes. We did not find additional mobility effects. The analysis confirmed that the effects of class mobility differed across cohorts and that there is a trend of the origin and destination weights. Those who were mobile in a period of recession tended to be more affected by their origin class than those who were mobile in a period of high or stable economic growth. Whereas these trends were confirmed for both males and females, it was more prominent among females. We found additional mobility effects on the youngest female cohort and identified that horizontal mobility harms life satisfaction for this cohort. We also found that the association between class mobility and life satisfaction changes according to the socioeconomic environment and that the mobility impacts differ by gender.
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