Summary: This paper investigates social mobility in Bolivia and discusses its implications for poverty reduction and long-run growth. Regressions based on household survey data show that social mobility is very low in Bolivia, even by Latin American standards. This is mainly caused by an inadequate public education system, a high degree of assortative mating, and insufficient rural-urban migration. As a consequence, poverty tends to be fairly persistent over time. Moreover, low social mobility implies an inefficient use of innate talent and poor incentives for work and study. This prevents the Bolivian economy from reaching its potential growth rates. The paper provides several recommendations for policies to increase social mobility, thereby reducing poverty and increasing long-run growth.
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