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The Path to Convergence: Intergenerational Occupational Mobility in Britain and the US in Three Eras

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  • Jason Long
  • Joseph Ferrie

Abstract

Late nineteenth-century intergenerational occupational mobility was higher in the US than in Britain. Differences between them in this type of mobility are absent today. Using data on 10,000 US and British father and son pairs followed over two intervals (the 1860s and 1870s, and the 1880s and 1890s), we examine how this convergence occurred. The US remained more mobile then Britain through 1900 but the difference fell over the last two decades of the nineteenth century (as British mobility rose) and was erased by the 1950s (as mobility fell by more in the US than in Britain). Copyright 2007 The Author(s). Journal compilation Royal Economic Society 2007.

Suggested Citation

  • Jason Long & Joseph Ferrie, 2007. "The Path to Convergence: Intergenerational Occupational Mobility in Britain and the US in Three Eras," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(519), pages 61-71, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:117:y:2007:i:519:p:c61-c71
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    Cited by:

    1. Jantti, Markus & Jenkins, Stephen P., 2013. "Income mobility," ISER Working Paper Series 2013-23, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    2. Jeanne Cilliers & Johan Fourie, 2017. "Social mobility during South Africa’s industrial take-off," Working Papers 04/2017, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    3. Necker, Sarah & Voskort, Andrea, 2014. "Intergenerational transmission of risk attitudes – A revealed preference approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 66-89.
    4. Jo Blanden & Robert Haveman & Timothy Smeeding & Kathryn Wilson, 2014. "Intergenerational Mobility in the United States and Great Britain: A Comparative Study of Parent–Child Pathways," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(3), pages 425-449, September.
    5. Brown, Sarah & Ortiz-Nuñez, Aurora & Taylor, Karl, 2011. "What will I be when I grow up? An analysis of childhood expectations and career outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 493-506, June.
    6. Lee, Chulhee, 2012. "Military service and economic mobility: Evidence from the American civil war," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 367-379.
    7. Steven Ruggles, 2014. "Big Microdata for Population Research," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(1), pages 287-297, February.
    8. Modalsli, Jørgen, 2015. "Estimating occupational mobility with covariates," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 77-80.
    9. Alice Kasakoff & Andrew Lawson & Emily Van Meter, 2014. "A Bayesian analysis of the spatial concentration of individual wealth in the US North during the nineteenth century," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 30(36), pages 1035-1074, April.
    10. Jørgen Modalsli, 2017. "Intergenerational Mobility in Norway, 1865–2011," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 119(1), pages 34-71, January.
    11. John Parman, "undated". "Gender and Intergenerational Mobility: Using Health Outcomes to Compare Intergenerational Mobility Across Gender and Over Time," Working Papers 122, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
    12. Aina, Carmen & Nicoletti, Cheti, 2014. "The intergenerational mobility of liberal professions: nepotism versus abilities," ISER Working Paper Series 2014-39, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    13. William Mullins & Antoinette Schoar, 2013. "How do CEOs see their Role? Management Philosophy and Styles in Family and Non-Family Firms," NBER Working Papers 19395, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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