June 13, 2023

Thijs Bol has been appointed professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam’s Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. In particular, he will focus on Social Stratification and Inequality: ‘Sociological theories are my toolbox to better understand inequality’.

Bol has been researching inequality since 2013. He also teaches several courses in the Sociology Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes. The ‘Social Stratification and Inequality’ chair offers him the opportunity to continue his research on inequality, while also contributing to social discourse. ‘For example, when I talk about my research at a birthday, almost everyone thinks it makes sense that people with a university education earn more than those with a senior secondary vocational education diploma. But why is that really the case? why do we think such inequality is the norm?’


Bol’s research has already shown that much inequality arises from processes over which individuals have little control, such as the family they are born into. ‘A lot of inequality is explained as being merit-based: people who have more of something can do more or have worked harder. But my research shows that a significant portion of inequality has nothing to do with that. I think this realisation – that your influence on where you end up is limited – is very important for a more inclusive society,’ said the brand-new professor.

New forms of data

With his chair, Bol will focus mainly on inequality in education, the labour market and science. He wants to gain a better understanding of when inequalities start and how they change over time. Why do children in education not have equal opportunities, and how does this develop? Why will a scientist who has received a grant also receive more funding in the future?

To answer such questions, he will also try to tap new data sources. ‘In my research on inequality, I primarily use large-scale quantitative data. Data from Statistics Netherlands’ (CBS) population registers are extremely valuable here. They are very detailed, which can offer a lot of insight into when inequalities arise and how they change over time.’


About Thijs Bol

Thijs Bol has been an associate professor of Sociology at the UvA since 2017. In 2020, he received a Starting Grant from the European Research Council, with which he and his team have been investigating how labour market inequality changes over the course of careers. Bol is vice president of The Young Academy, a part of the Royal Academy of Sciences, of which he has been a member since 2020.


UvA. (2023, 13 juni). Thijs Bol benoemd tot hoogleraar Sociologie. uva.nl. Geraadpleegd op 7 september 2023, van https://www.uva.nl/shared-content/faculteiten/nl/faculteit-der-maatschappij-en-gedragswetenschappen/nieuws/2023/06/thijs-bol-benoemd-tot-hoogleraar-sociologie.html