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American Economic Review: Vol. 103 No. 4 (June 2013)

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Intergenerational Occupational Mobility in Great Britain and the United States since 1850

Article Citation

Long, Jason, and Joseph Ferrie. 2013. "Intergenerational Occupational Mobility in Great Britain and the United States since 1850." American Economic Review, 103(4): 1109-37.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.4.1109

Abstract

The US tolerates more inequality than Europe and believes its economic mobility is greater than Europe’s, though they had roughly equal rates of intergenerational occupational mobility in the late twentieth century. We extend this comparison into the nineteenth century using 10,000 nationally-representative British and US fathers and sons. The US was more mobile than Britain through 1900, so in the experience of those who created the US welfare state in the 1930s, the US had indeed been “exceptional.” The US mobility lead over Britain was erased by the 1950s, as US mobility fell from its nineteenth century levels.

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Online Appendix (119.18 KB) | Download Data Set (13.54 MB)

Authors

Long, Jason (Wheaton College)
Ferrie, Joseph (Northwestern U)

JEL Classifications

J62: Job, Occupational, and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
N31: Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
N32: Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: U.S.; Canada: 1913-
N33: Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: Europe: Pre-1913
N34: Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: Europe: 1913-


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