Immobile Australia: Surnames Show Strong Status Persistence, 1870–2017

37 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2017

See all articles by Gregory Clark

Gregory Clark

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics

Andrew Leigh

Australian House of Representatives Parliament House; Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, ANU; IZA

Mike Pottenger

University of Melbourne

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Abstract

The paper estimates long run social mobility in Australia 1870–2017 tracking the status of rare surnames. The status information includes occupations from electoral rolls 1903–1980, and records of degrees awarded by Melbourne and Sydney universities 1852–2017. Status persistence was strong throughout, with an intergenerational correlation of 0.7–0.8, and no change over time. Notwithstanding egalitarian norms, high immigration and a well-targeted social safety net, Australian long-run social mobility rates are low. Despite evidence on conventional measures that Australia has higher rates of social mobility than the UK or USA (Mendolia and Siminski, 2016), status persistence for surnames is as high as that in England or the USA. Mobility rates are also just as low if we look just at mobility within descendants of UK immigrants, so ethnic effects explain none of the immobility.

Keywords: intergenerational mobility, social mobility, inequality

JEL Classification: J62

Suggested Citation

Clark, Gregory and Leigh, Andrew and Pottenger, Mike, Immobile Australia: Surnames Show Strong Status Persistence, 1870–2017. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11021, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3041816

Gregory Clark (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics ( email )

One Shields Drive
Davis, CA 95616-8578
United States

Andrew Leigh

Australian House of Representatives Parliament House ( email )

Canberra, 2600
Australia

Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, ANU ( email )

ANU College of Business and Economics
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

IZA ( email )

Mike Pottenger

University of Melbourne

185 Pelham Street
Carlton, 3053

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
5
Abstract Views
160
PlumX Metrics