Intergenerational Social Economic Mobility Among Rubber Tappers in Baling, Malaysia

Peck-Leong Tan, Zakinan Nawaz S.H. Sahul Hamid, Norlida Abdul Hamid
Arshad Ayub Graduate Business School, Universiti Teknologi MARA


Over the last 60 years, through many poverty eradication programs, Malaysia has successfully reduced the country’s level of poverty from about 50 per cent in 1957 to less than 1 per cent in 2015. However, poverty eradication does not always mean improvement in social-economic mobility that will eventually lead to income equality. This paper explores whether the success of Malaysian poverty eradication programs has resulted in also social mobility among the poor rubber tappers families. It measures the perceptions of social-economic mobility in term of education and income between the two most recent generations (fathers with his sons/daughters). Through a non-convenient sampling technique and using a structured questionnaire, a sampling of 60 families reveals that there is upward education mobility of at least one level higher. However, mobility only occurred mainly among fathers who have no formal education. In term of income mobility, the lowest income group enjoy a higher level of income mobility compared to those in the higher-income group. Overall, there is upward social-economic mobility among rubber tappers families in Baling, Malaysia but this does not reduce the income inequality gap for the poor rubber tappers.

Keywords: Socioeconomic mobility, Poverty, Inequality