NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Wealth Mobility: The Missing Element

J. R. Kearl, Clayne L. Pope

NBER Working Paper No. 692
Issued in June 1981
NBER Program(s):Development of the American Economy

We consider the problems that may arise when cross sectional data alone are used for inferences about individual welfare, the existence of elites, the possibilities of class boundaries, the openness of a society, etc. We also consider problems with alternative measures of socio-economic position. We then use a sample of 2400 households observed over one or two decade intervals together with data on the population of households at each observation point to examine mobility within the distribution of wealth for an almost closed economy, Utah, 1850-1870. We use information on households to examine those characteristics that contribute to mobility. We find considerable mobility, much apparently stochastic, within quite highly skewed distributions of wealth that also exhibit increasing inequality through time.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w0692

Published: Kearl, J.R. "Wealth Mobility: The Missing Element," Journal of Economic History, (March 1983).

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