Was There Ever a Ruling Class? A Proposal for the study of 800 Years of Social Mobility
AbstractThis 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.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History) in its series Working Papers in Economic History with number 2009/04.
Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Francisco Tomás y Valiente, 5, 28049 Madrid
Web page: http://www.uam.es/departamentos/economicas/analecon/default.html
More information through EDIRC
Social Mobility; Economic Mobility; History of Social Class; History of Economic Opportunity;
Other versions of this item:
- Gregory Clark, 2010. "Was There Ever a Ruling Class? A Proposal for the study of 800 Years of Social Mobility," Investigaciones de Historia Económica (IHE) Journal of the Spanish Economic History Association, Asociación Española de Historia Económica, vol. 6(02), pages 11-38.
- 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
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-07-28 (All new papers)
- NEP-HIS-2009-07-28 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-MIC-2009-07-28 (Microeconomics)
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