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

37 Pages Posted: 27 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

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Date Written: September 13, 2017

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, and records of degrees awarded by Melbourne and Sydney universities. 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, status persistence for surnames is as high as that in England or the USA.

Keywords: intergenerational mobility, social mobility, inequality

JEL Classification: J620

Suggested Citation

Clark, Gregory and Leigh, Andrew and Pottenger, Mike, Immobile Australia: Surnames Show Strong Status Persistence, 1870-2017 (September 13, 2017). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6650, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3043103

Gregory Clark

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

One Shields Drive
Davis, CA 95616-8578
United States

Andrew Leigh (Contact Author)

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

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