NBER

Weihong Zeng

Jinhe Center for Economic Research
Center for Aging and Health Research
Xi'an Jiaotong University
No.28 West Xianning Road
Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, 710049
P. R. CHINA

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Xi'an Jiaotong University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

April 2020Persistence through Revolutions
with Alberto F. Alesina, Marlon Seror, David Y. Yang, Yang You: w27053
Can efforts to eradicate inequality in wealth and education eliminate intergenerational persistence of socioeconomic status? The Chinese Communist Revolution in the 1950s and Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976 aimed to do exactly that. Using newly digitized archival records and contemporary census and household survey data, we show that the revolutions were effective in homogenizing the population economically in the short run. However, the pattern of inequality that characterized the pre-revolution generation re-emerges today. Almost half a century after the revolutions, individuals whose grandparents belonged to the pre-revolution elite earn 16 percent more and have completed more than 11 percent additional years of schooling than those from non-elite households. In addition, individu...

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