Vive la différence? Intergenerational Mobility in France and the U.S. in the 19th and 20th Centuries
Though rates of intergenerational mobility are the same in the U.S. and Europe today, attitudes toward redistribution – that should reflect at least in part those rates – differ substantially. We examine differences in mobility between the U.S. and France since the middle of the nineteenth century to trace the path these economies have followed to the choice of their modern redistributive regimes. We use data for both countries that allows us to compare the socioeconomic status of fathers and sons across up to thirty years. The results demonstrate that, as a variety of commentators noted, the U.S. was a considerably more mobile economy in the past, though such differences are far from apparent today.
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