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Social Mobility: What is it and Why Does it Matter?

  • Sebastián Galiani

    (Maryland University)

The definition of social mobility is a matter of debate. In the following discussion, conceptual issues in the literature on mobility are commented. This paper defines social mobility as a situation in which the relative economic status of an agent is not dependent on starting conditions such as parental income or family background. Analyzing the determinants of mobility involves exploring the channels through which offspring’s income is correlated to its parents’, such as inherited bequest, education, skills, among many others. This survey explores, in an analytical framework, the relation between social mobility and inequality, among other important dimensions of income distribution that are jointly determined. The focus is on the relevance of social mobility as it affects variables determining welfare and economic efficiency, and therefore on policies to promote it.

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Article provided by Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata in its journal Económica.

Volume (Year): 59 (2013)
Issue (Month): (January-December)
Pages: 167-229

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Handle: RePEc:lap:journl:588
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