Was There Ever a Ruling Class? A Proposal for the study of 800 Years of Social Mobility
Gregory Clark ()
Investigaciones de Historia Económica - Economic History Research (IHE-EHR), Journal of the Spanish Economic History Association, 2010, vol. 6, issue 02, 11-38
This paper reports on a preliminary investigation of surnames distributions as a measure long run social mobility. In England this suggests two surprising claims. First, England, all the way from the heart of the Middle Ages in 1250 to at least 1860, was a society without persistent social classes. It was a world of social mobility, with no permanent over-class and under-class, a world of complete equal opportunity. There was, however, a gain from being in the upper class in any generation in the form of leaving more copies of your DNA permanently in later populations. Second, signs of persistent social classes have only emerged in societies like England and the United States in recent years. Instead of moving from a world of immobility and class rigidity to a world of equal opportunity, we have moved in the opposite direction. KEY Classification-JEL: N33, N34, N62
Keywords: Intergenerational Mobility; Inequality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
This is an Open Access journal
Working Paper: Was There Ever a Ruling Class? A Proposal for the study of 800 Years of Social Mobility (2009)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ahe:invest:v:06:y:2010:i:02:p:11-38
Access Statistics for this article
More articles in Investigaciones de Historia Económica - Economic History Research (IHE-EHR), Journal of the Spanish Economic History Association from Asociación Española de Historia Económica Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Mauricio Matus ().