Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Family wealth and the class ceiling: the propulsive power of the bank of Mum and Dad

Toft, Maren and Friedman, Sam (2020) Family wealth and the class ceiling: the propulsive power of the bank of Mum and Dad. Sociology. ISSN 0038-0385

[img] Text (Family wealth and the class ceiling) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (516kB)

Identification Number: 10.1177/0038038520922537


In this article we demonstrate that those from working-class backgrounds face a powerful ‘class ceiling’ in elite occupations. Examining how class origin shapes economic returns in the Norwegian upper class (3.8% of the population), we first find that the income advantage enjoyed by those from privileged backgrounds increases sharply as they ascend the income distribution in both elite business and cultural fields. Second, we show that those from economically upper-class backgrounds enjoy the highest pay advantage in all upper-class destinations. Finally, we demonstrate the profound propulsive power provided by parental wealth. Our results indicate that this is the most important single driver of the class-origin income gap in virtually every area of the Norwegian upper class. These findings move forward an emerging literature on class-origin pay gaps beyond mean estimates to reveal the distinct ‘pay-off’ to class privilege in the very highest income-earning positions.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2020 11:27
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2024 22:12

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics