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

Author

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  • Yu Xie
  • Alexandra Killewald

Abstract

Using historical census and survey data, Long and Ferrie (2013) found a significant decline in social mobility in the United States from 1880 to 1973. We present two critiques of the Long-Ferrie study. First, the data quality of the Long-Ferrie study is more limiting than the authors acknowledge. Second, and more critically, they applied a method ill-suited for measuring social mobility of farmers in a comparative study between 1880 and 1973, a period in which the proportion of farmers dramatically declined in the United States. We show that Long and Ferrie's main conclusion is all driven by this misleading result for farmers.

Suggested Citation

  • Yu Xie & Alexandra Killewald, 2013. "Intergenerational Occupational Mobility in Great Britain and the United States since 1850: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 2003-2020, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:5:p:2003-20
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.5.2003
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/data/aug2013/20091066_data.zip
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David N. Laband & Bernard F. Lentz, 1983. "Occupational Inheritance in Agriculture," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 65(2), pages 311-314.
    2. Susan E. Mayer & Leonard M. Lopoo, 2005. "Has the Intergenerational Transmission of Economic Status Changed?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(1).
    3. Laura Chadwick & Gary Solon, 2002. "Intergenerational Income Mobility Among Daughters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 335-344, March.
    4. Jason Long & Joseph Ferrie, 2013. "Intergenerational Occupational Mobility in Great Britain and the United States since 1850," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1109-1137, June.
    5. Chul-In Lee & Gary Solon, 2009. "Trends in Intergenerational Income Mobility," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(4), pages 766-772, November.
    6. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Martha Bailey & Connor Cole & Morgan Henderson & Catherine Massey, 2017. "How Well Do Automated Methods Perform in Historical Samples? Evidence from New Ground Truth," NBER Working Papers 24019, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Reddy, A. Bheemeshwar, 2015. "Changes in Intergenerational Occupational Mobility in India: Evidence from National Sample Surveys, 1983–2012," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 329-343.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - 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-
    • N51 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N52 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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