Private bankers may want to rethink portfolio duration as an indefinite feature. In 1427, Florence was on the cusp its grand cultural ascension. And it was bankrupt. The quick-fix to repair war-related fiscal damage was to levy taxes based on a copious income survey. The assessment included names and occupations. Economists have now combed through those records. They found that those Florentine families who managed local cash spigots 600 years ago are largely the same ones who are wealthy today. That research affirms the academic view that socioeconomic status is persistent. The findings are even more striking when framed by the turbulent history of the city-state. ■
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Image shows fresco of Baroncelli Chapel, Florence. Credit: Wjarek at Can Stock Photo Inc.