Nearly all intergenerational mobility studies focus on fathers and sons. The possibility that the process is more than simply two-generational (AR(1)) has been difficult to assess because of the lack of the necessary multi-generational data. We remedy this shortcoming with new data that links grandfathers, fathers and sons in Britain and the US between 1850 and 1910. We find that grandfathers mattered: even controlling for father's occupation, grandfather's occupation significantly influenced the occupation of the grandson. For both Britain and the US in this time period, therefore, assessments based on two-generation estimates significantly overstate the true amount of social mobility.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics and Econometrics