Sociodemographic and Intergenerational Mechanisms of Economic Inequality. A Case Study from Southern Sweden (18th-20th Centuries)

Gabriel Brea-Martinez, Centre for Economic Demography-Economic History Lund University

In the last years, the knowledge about long-term economic inequality enlarged, nuancing the traditional view of low and constant disparity in time-periods before industrialisation or higher inequalities later on, which derives from the so-called hypothesis of Kuznets. However, the increasing literature on this topic often fails into disentangling how social and demographic determinants have affected inequality across time. For instance, inequality may change depending on the population´s age structure because economic accumulation increases as a function of age. Moreover, demographic phenomena such as fertility or mortality also affect the levels of inequality and vice-versa. In this regard, individuals were active agents and their behaviours at the micro level could influence inequality at macro level in different ways. Therefore, economic inequality consists of different contributions from groups, families or individuals that shape its trends and patterns. This proposal has a twofold aim on the interrelation between economic inequality and sociodemographic mechanisms. By using the Scanian Economic Demographic Database for the period 1813-2015, which has individual occupational, income, wealth and family data across generations, this study will first look at how inequality evolved in the long-term and how the different demographic behaviours by social groups contributed to that (e.g. fertility control, migration). On the other hand, this study also proposes decomposing inequality through positive (advantaged) or negative (disadvantaged) contributions from social groups and families through the relation between groups' economic weights and population weights. We look whether inequality is transmissible and if individuals are more likely to contribute positively or negatively to inequality if their ascendants did also through applying multilevel models of family influence. Approaches combining inequality decomposition and regression models have not been used extensively and may grant new insights for studies in socioeconomic inequality.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 149. Economic and Social Mobility