Document Type

Discussion Paper

Date of Paper



We use data from marriage records in Murcia, Spain, in the 18th century to study the role of women in social mobility in the pre-modern era. Our measure of socioeconomic standing is identification as a don or doña, an honorific denoting high, though not neccesarily, noble status. We show that this measure, which is acquired over the lifecycle, shows gendered transmission patters. In particular, same-sex transmission is stronger than opposite-sex, for both sons and daughters. The relative transmission from fathers versus mothers varies over the lifecycle, and grandparents may have an effect on the status of their grandchildren.


Discussions with Armando Alberola Romá, Metin Cosgel, Neil Cummins, Joseph Ferrie, Tim Guinnane, Naomi Lamoreaux, Jason Long, Enrique Llopis Agelán, José Miguel Martínez Carrión, Laura Salisbury, Angel Pascual Martínez Soto and Cayetano Mas Galvañ have greatly benefited this work. We would like to thank William Giraldo, Kevin Lai, Sarah Merchant, and especially Miguel Ángel Lafuente Navarro for their excellent help. Also we acknowledge financial support from the Economic Growth Center at Yale University.


JEL Codes: D31; J62; N33