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Gabriel Brea-Martinez . Foto

Gabriel Brea-Martinez


Gabriel Brea-Martinez . Foto

Inequality in social mobility in Southern Europe. Evidence of Class Ceiling in the area of Barcelona, 16th-19th centuries


  • Gabriel Brea-Martinez
  • Joana-Maria Pujadas-Mora

Summary, in English

Preindustrial social mobility is still primarily understudied in present times, and most early-industrial social mobility research has focused strictly on occupational mobility, not fully capturing the substantial socioeconomic disparities within occupational groups that presumably always existed. In this study, we contribute to the literature by estimating long-term trends in intergenerational social mobility in Barcelona and its hinterland. Using the Barcelona Historical Marriage Database, we assess disparities between socially and non-socially mobile individuals within occupational groups through unique data covering occupational prestige and economic information. We use data from genealogic reconstitutions done with probabilistic record linkage. We find that using a combined SES approach (occupational prestige and economic capacity) can capture both class differences and within-occupation disparities. Accordingly, socioeconomic mobility increased since the beginning of the 18th, during the Catalan protoindustrialization, but with significant class disparities. SES persistence would have increased for Non-Manuals' children, stagnated for Artisans' children, and declined for Farmers'. Moreover, within-occupational groups, we find that upward-mobile individuals would have always been disadvantaged in socioeconomic terms compared to immobile, a constant characteristic from the preindustrial periods until the end of the 19th century. These results suggest that socially immobile (intergenerationally) would perform better than mobile, independent of the period, which seems to recall the sociological concept of class ceiling


  • Centrum för ekonomisk demografi
  • Ekonomisk-historiska institutionen








OSF Preprints


  • Economic History


  • Human Capital
  • Long-term
  • Preindustrial
  • Social Mobility
  • Southern Europe
  • Inequality