Eric Kaufmann

What’s in a Name?

The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility


Princeton University Press 364pp £19.95 order from our bookshop

Why is Mr Neville richer than Mr Smith? Will your children go to Oxford? Who should you marry if you want to win at the game of life? Gregory Clark, a Scottish economist at the University of California, Davis, offers some answers in his fascinating new book, The Son Also Rises. In short, he argues that the contribution of distant relatives matters as much as our parents in implementing our fate.

Whereas conventional work on social mobility tracks outcomes over a single generation in one dimension, such as income or education,

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