Seminario CEDE - José Alberto Guerra
Can transport infrastructure promote long-term labour opportunities and break the occupation tie between parents and their children? This paper estimates the causal effect of access to the railroad network on intergenerational occupation mobility in nineteenth century England and Wales. We create a new dataset of father and son pairs by linking individuals across the full-population censuses of 1851, 1881 and 1911. By geolocating individuals down to the street level, we measure access to the railroad network using the proximity to the nearest train station. To address the non-random access to the railroad network, we create a dynamic hypothetical railroad based solely on geographic cost consideration. We find that sons who grew up one standard devi- ation (roughly 5 km) closer to the train station were 6 percentage points more likely to work in a different occupation than their father and 5 percentage points more likely to be upward mobile. The majority of the effects are driven by changes in local labour opportunities.