The paper estimates long run social mobility in Australia 1870-2017 tracking the status of rare surnames. The status information includes occupations from electoral rolls, and records of degrees awarded by Melbourne and Sydney universities. Status persistence was strong throughout, with an intergenerational correlation of 0.7-0.8, and no change over time. Notwithstanding egalitarian norms, high immigration and a well-targeted social safety net, Australian long-run social mobility rates are low. Despite evidence on conventional measures that Australia has higher rates of social mobility than the UK or USA, status persistence for surnames is as high as that in England or the USA.
intergenerational mobility social mobility inequality