Although rates of intergenerational mobility are the same in the United States and Europe today, attitudes toward redistribution, which should reflect those rates—at least in part—differ substantially. An examination of the differences in mobility between the United States and France since the middle of the nineteenth century, based on data for both countries that permit a comparison between the socioeconomic status of fathers and that of sons throughout a period of thirty years, demonstrates that the United States was a considerably more mobile economy in the past, though such differences are far from apparent today.

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