The Son Also Rises

How much of our social status is tied to that of our parents and grandparents? How much does this influence our children? More than we wish to believe. While it has been argued that rigid class structures have eroded in favour of greater social equality, Gregory Clark’s The Son Also Risesproves that movement on the social ladder has changed little over eight centuries. In this interview, Gregory Clark, a Professor of economics at the University of California, Davis, talks to Craig about his novel technique of tracking family names over generations to measure social mobility across countries and periods.  It led him to conclude that even in countries apparently committed to equality – like Sweden and the USA – it can take hundreds of years for high status families to revert to the mean of ordinariness.