Income Mobility Decreases

I don't usually care much about increased income inequality, because I think wealth usually flows to the most productive members of society. If salaries of the top 10% increase a lot, but the bottom 10% only increase a little (as happened in the 90s) I am fine with that, as long as most everyone's standard of living rose to some extent. However, this bothers me.

A recent study by Katharine Bradbury and Jane Katz of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston is hardly reassuring. Drawing on survey data on the income paths of individual households over time, they find that income mobility has declined in recent decades. Upward mobility — the share of families moving from one quintile, or fifth, in the income distribution to a higher quintile — decreased in the 1980s, and slipped even more in the 1990s.

I always thought income mobility in America was better than just about anywhere else in the world, which is why income inequality doesn't matter so much. But if this data proves to be true, something will have to change. I don't support the rising of an American aristocracy where who your parents are and how much they are worth matters more than your own talents, skills, and work ethic.

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