Gregory Clark
          - Professor of Economics - University of California, DavisThe
            Son Also Rises - A brief economic history of the world

Surnames and the History of Social Mobility

with Neil Cummins, Daniel Diaz Vidal, Yu Hao

Table of Contents

Winner of 2015 Gyorgy Ranki Prize, Economic History Association

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 201

One of Vox’s "Best Books We Read in 2014"

Honorable Mention for the 2015 PROSE Award in Economics, Association of American Publishers

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Your Fate?  Thank Your Ancestor. New York Times, Feb 21, 2014

The cruel key to individual prosperity: choosing the right ancestorsPBS News Hour: Making Sen$e, July 16, 2014.

The American Dream is an Illusion: Immigration and Inequality. Foreign Affairs, August 26, 2014.

Social mobility barely exists but let’s not give up on equality. The Guardian, February 4, 2015

Is Most Wealth Inherited or Created? February, 2015. Forthcoming, New York Law Review (with Neil Cummins)


The Truth about Social MobilityRoyal Society of Arts, London, March 6, 2014.  Audio (full).  Video (edited)



Economic History Review. November, 2015 (Ineke Maas)

Que Restet-Il de la Méritocratie? Revue des Deux Mondes. March, 2015 (Annick Steta)

Journal of Economic History. March, 2015 (Richard Breen)

Det sociala arvet. Axess, 29 March, 2015 (Erik W LArsson) (Sweden)

'Succes zit in de genen' De Standaard. March 18, 2015 (Belgium) (Economic History Association). Sept, 2014 (Laura Salisbury)

Je sociale status staat in je genen geschreven. de Correspondent (Netherlands), Sept. 18, 2014 (Rutger Bregman).

Immigration and the Persistence of Social Status. National Review, Sept. 1, 2014 (Reihan Salam)

Efternamnens sega struktur. Forskning&Framsteg (Sweden), Aug 22, 2014.

Is Social Mobility a Myth? The American Conservative (Gene Callahan), July 31, 2014.

Aufsteig aus der Familienkiste. Die Presse (Oliver Grimm), July 12, 2014.

Bon sang ne saurait faiblir. Le Monde (Baptiste Coulmont), Jul 7, 2014.

What's in a Name? Everything. The Atlantic (Benjamin Friedman), July/August 2014.

All in the Second Name. Business World (Shankar Jaganathan), July 2014.

It Pays to Choose Your Ancestors Carefully. Quadrant Magazine (Australia) (Peter Murphy), June 2014.

Synthesis: Where Have You Gone, Horatio Alger? Harvard Business Review Magazine (Tim Sullivan), June 2014.

Social Mobility, fixed forever? Gregory Clark's The Son Also Rises is a book of scholarship, and of scholastic overreach. Science (Miles Corak), May 23, 2014

Class Inaction. The Quarterly Review (Edward Dutton), May 21, 2014.

Does Capitalism Create Social Mobility? Strategy+Business (Theodore Kinni), May 21, 2014.

The Remarkable Persistence of Power and Privilege. Sidney Morning Herald (Andrew Leigh), May 17, 2014.

For Whom the Bell Curve Tolls. The Chronicle Review (Eli Cook), May 12, 2014.

Jellyfish McSaveloy and the social mobility of surnames. New Statesman (Sophie McBain), May 8, 2014.

The Great Grandson Also Rises. (David Henderson), May 7, 2014.

De beste familier. Dagens Næringsliv (Norway) (Bård Bjerkholt), May 6, 2014.

Heridability of Social Status. (Arnold Kling), May 5, 2014.

Franco-Americans are the unlikely underclass. Bangor Daily News (Tom Oliver), May 5, 2014.

The economics of a strong democracy. India Together (Shankar Jaganathan), May 5, 2014

Review, Library Journal, May 1, 2014.

The Son Also Rises (Capsule Review) Foreign Affairs (Richard Cooper), May/June 2014

The Remarkable Persistence of Power and Privilege. Inside Story (Australia) (Andrew Leigh), April 30, 2014.

Spokój klas: Dlaczego biedni zawsze pozostana biednymi?  Gazeta Prawna (Warsaw) (Rafał Woś), April 30, 2014.

Does a baby's name affect its chances in life? BBC News Magazine (William Kremer), April 11, 2014.

Give it up, Psmithe. Taki Magazine (Steve Sailer), April 9, 2014

What's in a Surname? Success, Maybe. Caixin Online (Richard Cooper), April 3, 2014.

Debunking the Myth of Social Mobility. Bloomberg Businessweek (Brendan Greeley), April 3, 2014.

What's in a Name? Literary Review (Erik Kaufman), March 29, 2014.

'Sipag at Tiyaga' is crap. Success is about surnames. Manila Times (Marlen V. Ronquillo), March 25, 2014.

Your ancestry may be your destiny. Toronto Globe and Mail (Margaret Wente), March 22, 2014.

Il vero segreto del successo? È nel cognomenVenerdi La Repubblica (Dedo Tortona), March 21, 2014.

Choose Your Ancestors Carefully. Enlightened Economics (Diane Coyle), March 19, 2014.

Having a venerable name can be a key to upward mobilityWashington Examiner (Michael Barone), March 19, 2014.

Votre réussite socio-économique dépend-elle de vos gènes?  (Jean-Laurent Cassely), March 17, 2014.

Want Success: Choose the Right Parents.   Bloomberg View (Clive Crook), March 16, 2014.

El éxito se heredaEl Meridiano de Córdoba, March 16, 2014.

Book Review: The Son Also RisesWall Street Journal (Trevor Butterworth), March 14, 2014.

Research of historical surnames suggests social mobility is low for generationsWashington Examiner (Joseph Lawler), March 14, 2014.

Herkunft der Eltern bestimmt Zukunft der KinderFrankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Rainer Hank), March 14, 2014

Social Mobility and The Son Also Rises: The Good.  March 10
Social Mobility and The Son Also Rises: The Bad.  March 11.
Social Mobility and The Son Also Rises: The Ugly.  March 12.
Social Mobility and The Son Also Rises: Reply from Clark.  March 14.
Brookings Institution (Richard Reeves, Joanna Venator) 

Social mobility: a family affairFinancial Times (Gillian Tett), March 7, 2014.

Samurai Spirit: Progeny of Japan's Warrior Elite Retain Edge TodayWall Street Journal-Japan (Alexander Martin), March 4, 2014.

If you want to improve social mobility, Mr Cameron, dish out new genesSunday Times (Harry Mount),  March 2, 2014.

Die neue KlassengesellschaftFrankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Rainer Hank), March 1, 2014

Överklassen behåller sitt grepp. Svenska Dagbladet (Jenny Nordberg), Feb 28, 2014

Lineage LotteryThe Independent, Feb 26, 2014

Homem Rico, Homem Pobre, Ver, Feb 20, 2014

Oh no.  Have I let my children have too much self esteem?  The Spectator, Feb 15, 2014

Have and Have Not: A new study shows just how slow it is to change social classThe Economist, Feb 1, 2014

Meritocracy doesn't work.  It's in the Left's interest to recognise this.
  The Spectator, Jan 30, 2014.


The Son Also Rises: How your surname predicts your social status.Pod Academy (Craig Barfoot), July 13, 2014

Does your name determine your destiny? RN - Sunday Extra (Jonathan Green), ABC Radio (Australia). 27 April, 2014

What's in a name? Quite a lot, it seems. VoxEU (Viv Davies), April 4, 2014.

Gregory Clark on Names. Social Science Bites (Dave Edmonds), April 2, 2014.

Awans społeczny zależy od genówObserwator Finansowy (Sebastian Stodolak), March 26, 2014

Marketplace, NPR. March 24, 2014.

Social Mobility: are we too complacent? BBC World Service, The Forum. March 22, 2014.

Gregory Clark on Social MobilityProspect Magazine (Jonathan Derbyshire), March 14, 2014.

The Why Factor - Family NamesBBC World Service, March 14, 2014.  Audio.

Thinking AllowedBBC Radio 4, March 5, 2014.  Podcast.

Stalled on the Social Ladder  The Economist, Feb 25, 2014, Audio Interview

כתבה שנשלחה אליך מאתר הארץ
Asher Schechter
Ha'aretz-The Marker

Everyone likes the idea of equal opportunity.  This economist thinks it's a fantasy.  Dylan Matthews, Washington Post, Wonkblog

Family Wealth Lasts Ten to Fifteen Generations.  An Interview with Gregory Clark, Historian of Social Mobility.  Alice Robb, New Republic

Is Upward Mobility in America a Fantasy?  Josh Harkinson, Mother Jones

The Modern Surname Elites of the USA, measured by relative probability of being a doctor (1 = average status = Irish)

Background Working Papers

What is the True Rate of Social Mobility in Sweden?  A Surname Analysis, 1700-2012 (Dec, 2013)

Intergenerational Wealth Mobility in England, 1858-2012.  Surnames and Social Mobility (Dec, 2013) (with Neil Cummins)  (forthcoming, Economic Journal, 2014).

Surnames and Social Mobility: England 1230-2012 (Dec 2013) (with Neil Cummins)

Surnames: a New Source for the History of Social Mobility (Feb, 2014) (with Neil Cummins, Yu Hao, Daniel Diaz Vidal).  Forthcoming, Explorations in Economic History, 2014.

Caste versus Class: Social Mobility in India, 1860-2012 (Dec 2013) (with Zack Landes)

Social Mobility in Japan, 1868-2012.  The Surprising Persistence of the Samurai (2012) (with Tatsuya Ishii).

Social Mobility in China, 1645-2012.  A Surname Study (November, 2012) (with Yu Hao).

Other Name Studies

Basso, Gaetano, Andrea Catania, Giovanna Labartino, Davide Malacrino, Paola Monti, and Michele Pellizzari, "Family Ties in Licensed Professions in Italy."  Working Paper.

Collado, M. Dolores, Ignacio Ortuño Ortín, and Anrés Romeu, 2008, “Surnames and social status in Spain,” Investigaciones Económicas, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 259-287.

Collado, M. Dolores, Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín, Andrés Romeu.  2013. “Long-run intergenerational social mobility and the distribution of surnames.”  Working Paper.

Garza-Chapa, Raúl, María de los Angeles Rojas-Alvarado, and Ricardo M. Cerda-Flores, 2000, “Prevalence of NIDDM in Mexicans with paraphyletic and polyphyletic surnames”, American Journal of Human Biology, vol. 12, no. 6, pp. 721-728.

Güell, Maia, Rodrigue Mora, Jose Vicente and Chris Telmer, 2007. “Intergenerational mobility and the informative content of surnames.” CEPR Discussion paper No 6316.

King, Turi E. and Mark A. Jobling. 2009. “What's in a name? Y chromosomes, surnames and the genetic genealogy revolution,”  Trends in Genetics, 25(8): 351-360.

Lasker, Gabriel W. 1985. Surnames and Genetic Structure. Cambridge University Press.

Olivetti, Claudia, and M. Daniele Paserman. 2013. “In the Name of the Son (and the Daughter): Intergenerational Mobility in the United States, 1850–1930.” NBER Working Paper no. 18822.

Paik, Christopher. 2013. “Does Lineage Matter? A Study of Ancestral Influence on Educational Attainment in Korea.” Working Paper, New York University Abu Dhabi.

Peña, Pablo A., 2013, “Surname Frequency and Lifespan,” manuscript.

Weyl, Nathaniel. 1989. The Geography of American Achievement. Washington, DC: Scott-Townsend.

            Son Also Rises

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