Sep 16 • 1HR 7M

How genes maintain social status | Greg Clark

An in-person interview with one of the world's most important hereditarian scholars.

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The final video from our 2023 ISIR series is a brilliant interview with Professor Greg Clark, one of the most important hereditarian scholars. We mainly talk about Greg’s groundbreaking study published in June: The inheritance of social status: England, 1600 to 2022. It’s worth quoting at length:

There is widespread belief across the social sciences in the ability of social interventions and social institutions to significantly influence rates of social mobility. In England, 1600 to 2022, we see considerable change in social institutions across time. Half the population was illiterate in 1800, and not until 1880 was compulsory primary education introduced. Progressively after this, educational provision and other social supports for poorer families expanded greatly. The paper shows, however, that these interventions did not change in any measurable way the strong familial persistence of social status across generations.

Greg is a Danish National Research Foundation Professor in Economics at Southern Denmark University (Odense), as well as a Chair at the Danish Institute for Advanced Study. He’s also a Visiting Professor in the Economic History Department at LSE. This year, he became a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Davis.

As we discussed in the interview, Greg has a penchant for Hemingway puns (something that got him in trouble) when it comes to book titles. You should buy both of them. And follow him on Twitter/X.



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0:00 - Genetic Correlations and Social Mobility

10:18 - Genetic Transmission and Social Outcomes

22:20 - Genetic Inheritance and Social Outcomes

28:21 - Implications of Genetic Transmission Model

35:32 - Education, Marriage, Social Status

52:31 - Social Mobility and Genetic Determination

1:01:25 - Social Mobility and Inheritance Concept