Industrialization and the Geography of Intergenerational Mobility: Evidence from Sweden

Thor Berger, Lund University
Björn Eriksson, Lund University
Jakob Molinder, Lund University

A growing body of work documents historical differences in intergenerational mobility—the extent to which (dis)advantage is transmitted from parents to children—across countries. Yet, we know little about whether the geography of mobility differed within individual countries during industrialization, or whether there was a “constant flux” across places. We use full-count census data of the population to measure intergenerational mobility in late-19th and early-20th century Sweden. We link sons to their fathers to establish rates of upward mobility across places using information on the skill- and status-content of occupations, as well as earnings scores. We find substantial differences in upward mobility across municipalities, as well as between rural and urban areas. We analyze the role of differences in educational expenditure, inequality, labor market structures, and a range of other factors to understand why some places generated better outcomes for children born at the bottom of the social ladder. We conclude by comparing differences in upward mobility historically and today.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 110. Scandinavian Labor Markets