Intergenerational Occupational Mobility Summary

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Summary of the Paper “Intergenerational Occupational Mobility in Great Britain and the United States Since 1850” by Jason Long and Joseph Ferrie, attempts to answer the question whether the authors can identify, for Britain and the US, historical differences in mobility, particularly intergenerational occupational mobility. In addition, the authors check for sufficiently large differences that explain the differences in labor radicalism between Britain and the US. The authors give a more in depth description of their primary interest, listing them as “(i) assessing the differences in mobility between Britain and the US in the second half of the nineteenth century; (ii) comparing that difference to the difference observed by the 1970s; and …show more content…
This data is used to measure occupational mobility for 5,000 father-son pairs split between the Britain and the US. The authors recorded the occupation of fathers in 1850/1851 and thirty years later recorded the occupation sons in 1880/1881. Job titles were split into four categories: white collar, farmer, skilled and semiskilled, and unskilled. For 20th century data the, authors used the Oxford Mobility Study for Britain and the OCG (1973 cohort) for the US. Respondents marked their occupation and this was recorded as the son’s occupation and they marked the occupation their father held when the respondent was 14 or 16 and this was used as the father’s occupation. There was on average a 20-year difference between the father and son’s occupation and the study opted to use years that excluded the Great Depression and World War …show more content…
In the comparison of occupational mobility for Britain and the US in the 20th century the authors conclude that they had similar intergenerational occupational mobility, The US appears to have higher mobility; however, the results are not statistically significant and the null hypothesis cannot be rejected. In the second comparison, Britain versus the US in the 19th century, the authors conclude that the US held a statistically significant difference in occupational mobility and that difference was greater occupational mobility in the US. The labor market in the US is determined to be less static than in Britain and the labor market had “better prospects for upward movement even after accounting for differences between its occupational structure and Britain’s and less downward mobility than in Britain.” The final comparison made by the authors is between the mobility in the US in the 19th century and 20th century. Mobility, according to the authors, had declined in the US over this time period, thus the null hypothesis was rejected. The decline is believed to be associated with the “change in the likelihood of direct inheritance of the father 's occupational status by the son was the greatest difference between these eras, rather than more subtle change in the structure of association between one generation 's occupation and that of the

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