Tasmanian Social Mobility

My first project looks at Australian social mobility. That is, how a person’s social status is related to the social status of their ancestors. The extent to which a person’s ancestors determines their own economic outcomes has many implications for the types of policies that are appropriate today.

In this project I start with the names of people born in Tasmania between 1777 and 1899. Using data sources such as parliamentary records and business registration, I identify which of these people can be classified as ‘high status’. By comparing the names of that high status group with the names of today’s high status group I can estimate the degree of social mobility in Tasmania.

The research has been useful for developing my data analysis skills, particularly data cleaning and analysis using R. It has also been useful for developing my data collection skills, particularly web scraping and using APIs with Python. That said, there are limitations to the method and future projects will need to look at other ways of examining the issue.