Was There Ever a Ruling Class? A Proposal for the study of 800 Years of Social Mobility
AbstractThis paper reports on a preliminary investigation of surnames distributions as a measure long run social mobility. In England this suggests two surprising claims. First, England, all the way from the heart of the Middle Ages in 1250 to at least 1860, was a society without persistent social classes. It was a world of social mobility, with no permanent over-class and under-class, a world of complete equal opportunity. There was, however, a gain from being in the upper class in any generation in the form of leaving more copies of your DNA permanently in later populations. Second, signs of persistent social classes have only emerged in societies like England and the United States in recent years. Instead of moving from a world of immobility and class rigidity to a world of equal opportunity, we have moved in the opposite direction. KEY Classification-JEL: N33, N34, N62
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Asociación Española de Historia Económica in its journal Investigaciones de Historia Económica (IHE) Journal of the Spanish Economic History Association.
Volume (Year): 6 (2010)
Issue (Month): 02 ()
Intergenerational Mobility; Inequality;
Other versions of this item:
- Clark, Gregory, 2009. "Was There Ever a Ruling Class? A Proposal for the study of 800 Years of Social Mobility," Working Papers in Economic History 2009/04, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History).
- D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
- J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
- N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
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