November 16, 2010

Norway - the land of opportunity?

When travelling this weekend I did some catchup in the pile of unread magazines and found this graph in The Economist:

It shows the relative income differences from one generation to the next (US=1). And it turns out Norway scores very well on this metric, so maybe state funding of educational loans and a pretty egalitarian society pays off in the end. The income mobility is almost 3 times that in the US and the UK.

Interestingly enough, the UK scores just as well as the US. I guess it is just prejudice, but I have always thought of the US as the classical meritocracy - if you are good, you can succeed no matter your background - while my oversimplification of the UK society is as more of a gentlemen's club where the right school, connections and parents are all a necessity to do well.

So the American Dream might just as well happen in Norway, today? I guess still lawyers breed lawyers more often than others, but on a macro level it does not look too bad. Anyway, I think it is a graph to be proud of (still a pity to be beaten by the Danes again, of course).