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Choosing the Right Parents: Changes in the Intergenerational Transmission of Inequality Between the 1970s and the early 1990s

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  • Levine, David I.

Abstract

This paper uses the General Social survey and the comparison between the National Longitudinal Survey of Young Men and of Youth to measure how returns to young men's family background have changed from the late 1970's to the late 1980's and early 1990's. Coming from a wealthy family and having a well-educated father who worked in a high-prestige occupation were much more powerful predictors of a young man's success in the later period. In contrast, maternal education was less important in determining a young man's income and educational attainment. Rising returns to education coupled with a constant relation between family background and education explains most of the rising importance of family background.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley in its series Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series with number qt9r45b10r.

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Date of creation: 19 Nov 1999
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:indrel:qt9r45b10r

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  1. Goldberger, Arthur S, 1989. "Economic and Mechanical Models of Intergenerational Transmission," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 504-13, June.
  2. Zimmerman, David J, 1992. "Regression toward Mediocrity in Economic Stature," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 409-29, June.
  3. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-81, September.
  4. Peters, H Elizabeth, 1992. "Patterns of Intergenerational Mobility in Income and Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 456-66, August.
  5. A. B. Atkinson, 1981. "On Intergenerational Income Mobility in Britain," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 3(2), pages 194-218, January.
  6. Kremer, M., 1996. "How Much Does Sorting Increase Inequality?," Working papers 96-18, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Gaviria, Alejandro, 2002. "Intergenerational mobility, sibling inequality and borrowing constraints," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 331-340, August.
  8. Joseph G. Altonji & Thomas A. Dunn, 1991. "Relationships Among the Family Incomes and Labor Market Outcomes of Relatives," NBER Working Papers 3724, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Dominic J. Brewer & Eric Eide & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1996. "Does It Pay To Attend An Elite Private College? Cross Cohort Evidence on the Effects of College Quality on Earnings," NBER Working Papers 5613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Gintis, Herbert, 1971. "Education, Technology, and the Characteristics of Worker Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(2), pages 266-79, May.
  11. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Harding, David J. & Jencks, Christopher & Lopoo, Leonard M. & Mayer, Susan E., 2003. "The Changing Effect of Family Background on the Incomes of American Adults," Working Paper Series rwp03-045, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.

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