Gordo interprets my comment about the social mobility study’s race differential to mean,
So there is quite a bit of opportunity for mobility in the US … for white people. For African-Americans, though, income mobility is virtually nonexistent. No wonder so many white Americans believe that America is a land of unparalleled opportunity. For them, it is.
Thomas Frank and a lot of other liberals wonder why it’s so difficult to appeal to conservative, working-class whites on purely economic grounds. I think that this study contains a good part of the answer.
In fact, although white social mobility is higher than the overall figure, it’s still fairly low. There aren’t enough black people in the US to make that significant an impact. The numbers I gave for the bottom quartile are staggering, but that’s largely because that quartile has nearly equal numbers of blacks and whites; for all other quartiles, the income mobility figure is almost identical to the white-only figure.
The international comparison I gave is based on another set of data, so I can’t calculate the whites-only mobility for the US. However, the study I quoted says that the r^2 correlation between parents’ and children’s income is 0.431, of which 0.062 is due to race.
So, if you’ll allow me to engage in bad math a little bit, if the same 62:431 ratio applies to the regression coefficient, we get that for whites only, the USA’s regression coefficient is 0.47*(1-(62/431)) = 0.4, just less than in France, and significantly more than Germany. For the record, France and Germany got their figures without race correction, despite being more racist than the US.