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Sunday, August 02, 2015

'The Myth of Mobility'

In case you somehow missed that socioeconomic mobility is low in the US relative to many other countries, this is Anne Kim at Washington Monthly:

The Myth of Mobility: ... Surveys find that nearly two-thirds of Americans believe it’s “still possible to start out poor in this country, work hard and become rich,” while also discounting the value of family background and connections in achieving success. In a 2014 survey by the Pew Research Center, just 18 percent of Americans said “belonging to a wealthy family” was “very important” for getting ahead.
But a mounting pile of evidence is beginning to show that family background is, in fact, determinative. ...
“[C]hildren raised in low-income families will probably have very low incomes as adults, while children raised in high-income families can anticipate very high incomes as adults,” write co-authors Pablo Mitnik and David Grusky of the Stanford University Center on Poverty and Inequality in a report published by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Russell Sage Foundation.
In particular, the study finds, children raised in wealthy households can expect to enjoy incomes that are at least 200 percent larger than the expected incomes of children raised in low-income households and 75 percent larger than the incomes of children from the middle class.
As a result of the persistence of these advantages - and disadvantages - from generation to generation, Mitnik and Grusky conclude: “[T]he United States is very immobile.” ...

And remember:

Our findings suggest that wealth transmission is not primarily because children from wealthier families are inherently more talented or more able...

    Posted by on Sunday, August 2, 2015 at 10:51 AM in Economics, Income Distribution | Permalink  Comments (7)


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