The lasting impact of grandfathers: Class, occupational status, and earnings over three generations in Sweden 1815-2011

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This article examines socioeconomic mobility across three generations in Sweden from 1815 and until 2011. Using longitudinal micro-level data from the Scanian Economic-Demographic Database (SEDD), we examine the transmission of socio-economic status along three different dimensions; social class (HISCLASS), occupational status (HISCAM), and earnings. We demonstrate an association between grandfathers' class or occupational status and the outcome of grandsons, when controlling for the association between fathers and sons. The associations remain stable over time and are stronger for paternal grandfathers than for maternal. For earnings, we find no grandparental association.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic History
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)969-1000
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Economic History
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

This work is part of the research program “The Rise and Fall of the Industrial City: The Landskrona Population Study,” funded by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation. Previous versions of the paper have been presented at the Social Science History Association (2013), Economic History Society (2014), Allied Social Sciences Associations (2015), and at conferences on social mobility at the University of Toulouse (2014) and the Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, South Korea (2015), as well as at seminars at the Universities of Copenhagen, Northwestern, Duisburg-Essen, Lund, Michigan, and Binghamton. We are grateful to discussants and participants at these seminars, and especially Joseph Ferrie, Laura Salisbury, and Anders Björklund for helpful comments and suggestions. Finn Hedefalk's assistance is also gratefully acknowledged.

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