Inequality and Surnames
Surnames can offer insights on sources of inequalities
Until recently, surnames for men in most societies were inherited from their fathers. In this talk, Gregory Clark from the University of California, Davis, shows how we can use this fact, and the information content in surnames, to reveal surprising results about the nature and mechanisms of social mobility. In particular, surnames reveal that social mobility rates are much lower than conventionally estimated, and hence inequalities greater. Surnames also can offer surprising insights into the sources of regional inequalities in economic outcomes. They suggest, for example, that regional disparities in modern England are entirely the product of selective migration of economic talent within England over the past 200 years.