Intergenerational occupational mobility in 19th-century Spain (Valencia), 1841-1870

Abstract: This paper sheds light on a crucial period of Spanish economic history, analysing changes in intergenerational occupational mobility. We use newly collected empirical evidence from Valencia, a region that followed a path of growth based on agrarian capitalism focused on international markets. We show that occupational mobility improved between 1841 and 1850, but that this situation reversed during the following decades. The opportunities offered to individuals from poorer families quickly disappeared. Put in international perspective, occupational mobility in Valencia was far lower than in other European countries, where both downward and especially upward mobility were considerably higher. By 1870, Valencia had become a polarised society, where the lowest part of the income distribution suffered increasing pauperisation and downward mobility.