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The Name Say It All – IFF-HSG Working Papers

MULTIGENERATIONAL SOCIAL MOBILITY IN SWITZERLAND, 1550-2019

Social mobility is a key element of meritocratic societies. We analyze multigenerational social mobility with a handcollected yearly Swiss dataset for the timespan from 1550 to 2019. With our surnamebased approach, we measure an average persistence rate of 0.42 over 15 generations. We show how close the different social status indicators match with each other using surnames. A moderate cyclical pattern indicates that social mobility was lowest in wartime generations with a major spreading afterwards. Furthermore, we show a significant influence of the grandparental generation. Overall, we conclude that the analysis of surnames is suitable for investigating the longterm permeability of the entire society. Surnames are a promising indicator for new insights into multigenerational social mobility.

Autor: Manuela Leuenberger

Datum: 26. Februar 2021