Social Mobility Over 800 Years

How mobile is our society? Do parental characteristics explain their child's social outcomes? How easy is it for someone to get ahead if their parents are at the bottom of the social ladder? In a fascinating study, Neil Cummins and Greg Clark investigate social mobility in England over 800 years using surname evidence. The BBC have reported on the study here. Clark and Cummins find that social mobility is a lot lower than we previously thought and appears to be immune to government attempts at making society more mobile. Greg Clark has performed surname studies for other economies and has found similar results - see here.

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