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The list of the rich Florence the same name as that of 600 years ago
Material posted: Publication date: 27-08-2016
Guglielmo Barone and Sauro, Mosetti, economists from main financial institutions in the Apennines - Bank of Italy, conducted an unusual study. They went in the archives of Florence, looked into the Florentine taxpayers in 1427 and compared them with the data of the Tax administration of Florence in 2011, the Results surprised the researchers: among the most wealthy taxpayers in the 15 and 21st centuries same as almost 900 names.

The study, of course, took a lot of time, but it was not so difficult due to the peculiarities of Italian surnames. On them without much difficulty to determine the place of birth of the person, and they almost do not change with the centuries. The Baron and Masetti came to the conclusion that occupation, income and current state of the Florentines, we can accurately predict the occupation, income and status of their distant ancestors and Vice versa.

The results of your interesting research Bank economists spoke on the economic website VoxEU: "We found that the wealthiest taxpayers in Florence six centuries ago were the same names that the richest taxpayers is now."

1427 was chosen as the comparison date not a coincidence. In those days Florence fought a protracted war with Milan and was on the verge of bankruptcy. In the result the plight of the urban finances of the Florentine authorities decided to conduct a census of approximately 10 thousand taxpayers. In the documents, except the names of heads of families, describe their professions, income and conditions.

About 900 of those who were in the census of 1427 names exist in Florence so far and still paying high taxes. Of course, there are also coincidences, but most of the same names in any case are not the namesakes and relatives.

The analysis shows that socioeconomic status has been preserved for six centuries, surprisingly clearly. Wealthy Florentines at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century have the same names as the rich in 1427. If this match profession and income. For example, among the members of the Guild of shoemakers, the match is 97%, and of the Guild of silk weavers and lawyers - 93!

Of course, the condition can be inherited just as often and profession. A study in Japan showed that the descendants of the samurai even after almost half a century after the formal disappearance as a layer of Japanese society are still among the Japanese elite. The amazing preservation of wealth and social status economist from the University of California Gregory Clark even dedicated his book "the Ascent of the son."

In the case of the Florentines more surprising is not so much the fact of preservation of wealth and social status, but the fact that we are talking about a period of time lasting almost 600 years, that is 25 generations.

The first Parallels with the research of the French economist Thomas Piketty, who was involved in the growth of income inequality among the 1% richest people. However, the Italian economists deny that between their research and the research of Piketty, there is some connection.

"Our study focuses on economic mobility, i.e. the question: are the rich the rich with the passage of time, said Mosetti the Wall Street Journal.- But this does not necessarily mean they are getting richer. We did not find a direct connection with the conclusion of Piketty that income inequality will only grow over time".

The Baron and Mosetti explain the fact that the rich were more likely to be rich and after a long time, the existence of what they call the "glass floor that protects the descendants of rich people from falling off the economic ladder".

Besides, in the study of Italian economists were not only the 1% most wealthy Florentines. They analyzed the entire population of the city and came to the conclusion that 33% of the rich of Florence in 1427, i.e., every third, remain sound and now, in our days.


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