Up from Slavery? Intergenerational Mobility in the Shadow of Jim Crow
William J. Collins and Marianne H. Wanamaker
Preliminary and incomplete draft: Please do not cite or circulate without the authorsâ€™ permission. Abstract: We have built new datasets of linked census records for the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to document black-white differences in intergenerational economic mobility. Whether viewed from an occupational or income-based perspective, southern whites were much more likely than blacks, conditional on fathersâ€™ status, to be upwardly mobile and less likely to be downwardly mobile. Children from poor white households often ascended into the American middle class, […]
Social mobility is still going strong in the Land of Opportunity
Is the American dream on life support? That’s the perennial claim of “declinists,” who are convinced that the American spirit of opportunity is at death’s door. That claim was recently bolstered by research from a team of top economists, who found that half of today’s 30-year-olds are worse off than their parents were at the same age. A closer look at that study, however, reveals that opportunity is alive and well. That does not mean we should be complacent about removing barriers to success for those born […]
The son of a minister, Ohene Asare grew up poor. His family immigrated from Ghana when he was 8 and settled down in West Bridgewater, Mass., a town 30 miles south of Boston, where he was one of the few black students at the local public school. “It was us and this Jewish family,” Asare remembered. “It was a field day.” His white classmates bullied him, sometimes using racial slurs. His father transferred Asare when he was 14 to Milton Academy, which awarded Asare a scholarship that covered tuition and board. His parents still had to take out loans […]
Economic mobility is the ability of an individual, family or some other group to improve (or lower) their economic status—usually measured in income . Economic mobility is often measured by movement between income quintiles . Economic mobility may be considered a type of social mobility , which is often measured in change in income. Types of mobility[ edit ]
There are many different ideas in the literature as to what constitutes a good mathematical measure of mobility, each with their own advantages and drawbacks.  
Mobility may be between generations ("inter-generational") or within a person or groups lifetime […]
Discussion PaPer series
IZA DP No. 10664
Simen Markussen Knut RÃ¸edAny opinions expressed in this paper are those of the author(s) and not those of IZA. Research published in this series may include views on policy, but IZA takes no institutional policy positions. The IZA research network is committed to the IZA Guiding Principles of Research Integrity. The IZA Institute of Labor Economics is an independent economic research institute that conducts research in labor economics and offers evidence-based policy advice on labor market issues. Supported by the Deutsche Post Foundation, IZA runs the worldâ€™s largest network of economists, whose research aims […]
Economic inequality is one of our biggest problems as a society, and it’s ruining our health. But it’s hard to write headlines about something that gets incrementally worse every day, instead of making a dramatic, newsworthy entrance. Bernie Sander’s campaign struck a chord by focusing on income inequality, and Trump garnered popularity by addressing workers on the losing end of the economy (though, I would argue, not with actual solutions).
I wish I could write a column about the perfect solution to income inequality. But a problem with many causes, needs multiple solutions. A lot of opportunity exists within the […]
Analysts at BBH explain that Americans do not like to talk about class as m any like to think that there are no classes in the US and that sufficient hard work and one’s socio-economic status can be raised.
“These days, discussions of the disparity of wealth and income are acceptable ways to talk about class.” “There are various studies that suggest such mobility is becoming more difficult. A college degree no longer guarantees a secure middle-class living and lifestyle. Moreover, household income is a strong indicator of a range of life opportunities. In addition to consumption […]
Concerns about rising income inequality are based on comparing income distributions over time. It is important to remember that such distributions are snapshots of a single year, and that the same households do not necessarily appear year after year in the same quintile of the distribution. Paying attention to mobility, as well as inequality, gives us a richer picture of the income possibilities for households over time. We document changes in a measure of income mobility over the past 40 years, a period in which income inequality has increased. We find a modest level of movement through the distribution, […]
2013 graduates of Bowie State University. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) Ray Boshara is the director of the St. Louis Fed’s Center for Household Financial Stability and a senior fellow in the Aspen Institute’s Financial Security Program. The views here are his own.
Acclaimed TV shows such as “ Atlanta ,” “ Black-ish ” and “ Insecure ” reveal a troubling paradox: Why do many well-educated black Americans feel so economically insecure? Here’s a surprising clue: Blacks with college degrees have lost wealth over the past generation.
Lots of wealth, in fact — and in sharp contrast to whites. Research from the […]
If Republicans want to improve working-class social mobility, they should pursue policies that put the family first.
Editor’s Note: This piece was written in partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation as part of their “Opportunity 2017: An Agenda to Increase Prosperity.”
One of the most troubling trends of our time is the decline in economic opportunity. From the early 20th century until the 1980s, children consistently out-earned their parents. Then the tide stopped rising and children’s odds of out-earning their parents became entirely random, as Stanford economist Raj Chetty has shown.This sorry state of affairs persists today. […]