Monday, February 3, 2014

The Mobility Muddle | RealClearPolitics

By the conventional wisdom, American society is becoming more rigid. People's place on the economic ladder ("relative mobility") is increasingly fixed.
Untrue, concludes the NBER study. (The study is NBER Working Paper 19844.)
"We find that children entering the labor market today have the same chances of moving up in the income distribution (relative to their parents) as children born in the 1970s," write the economists. Comparing their results with earlier studies covering 1950 to 1970, they also find little difference. Social mobility "remained remarkably stable over the second half of the 20th century in the United States," the study says.
Moreover, there's significant shifting among classes. About a third of the children born into the wealthiest fifth of Americans stay in the richest fifth as adults -- but two-thirds move down. Among children born to parents in the middle 20 percent by income, about a fifth end up in the richest fifth, as do about 9 percent of children born to the poorest fifth of Americans.

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