DP15284 Social Mobility and Social Regimes: Intergenerational Mobility in Hungary, 1949-2017

Author(s): Rita , Bukowski, Gregory Clark, Attila Gáspár
Publication Date: September 2020
Date Revised: September 2020
Keyword(s): inequality, Social mobility, social regimes
JEL(s):
Programme Areas: Labour Economics, Economic History
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=15284

This paper measures social mobility rates in Hungary 1949-2017, for upper class and underclass families, using surnames to measure social status. In these years there were two very different social regimes. The first was the Hungarian People's Republic, 1949-1989, a Communist regime with an avowed aim of favouring the working class. Then the modern liberal democracy, 1989-2020, a free-market economy. We find four surprising things. First, social mobility rates were low for both upper- and lower-class families 1949-2017, with an underlying intergenerational status correlation of 0.6-0.8. Second, social mobility rates under communism were the same as in the subsequent capitalist regime. Third, the Romani minority throughout both periods showed even lower social mobility rates. And fourth, the descendants of the noble class in Hungary in the eighteenth century were still significantly privileged 1949 and later.