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Intergenerational wealth mobility in England, 1858-2012: surnames and social mobility

Clark, Gregory and Cummins, Neil (2015) Intergenerational wealth mobility in England, 1858-2012: surnames and social mobility. The Economic Journal, 125 (582). 61 - 85. ISSN 0013-0133

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Identification Number: 10.1111/ecoj.12165


This article uses a panel of 18,869 people with rare surnames whose wealth is observed at death in England and Wales 1858–2012 to measure the intergenerational elasticity of wealth over five generations. We show, using rare surnames to track families, that wealth is much more persistent than standard one generation estimates would suggest. There is still a significant correlation between the wealth of families five generations apart. We show that this finding can be reconciled with standard estimates of wealth mobility by positing an underlying first order Markov process of wealth inheritance with an intergenerational elasticity of 0.70–0.75 throughout the years 1858–2012.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 Royal Economic Society
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Sets: Departments > Economic History
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2015 12:21
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2020 13:48
Projects: SES 09-62351, 2010–12
Funders: NSF

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