Journal Article

The surprising social mobility of Victorian Britain

Jason Long

in European Review of Economic History

Volume 17, issue 1, pages 1-23
Published in print February 2013 | ISSN: 1361-4916
Published online February 2013 | e-ISSN: 1474-0044 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ereh/hes020
The surprising social mobility of Victorian Britain

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This paper derives new estimates of social mobility in England and Wales between 1851 and 1901, using a large new dataset of fathers and sons linked across censuses from 1851–1881 and 1881–1901. Mobility rates were substantially greater than has been previously estimated, to the extent that mobility in the 1850s was only slightly less than in the 1970s. The development of mass public education in England after 1870 thus had surprisingly modest effects over the long run. Earnings mobility increased moderately for the first generation under public education (1881–1901), but did not increase over the course of the twentieth century.

Journal Article.  10542 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Industrial History ; Labour History ; Economic History

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