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Education and Intergenerational Mobility: Help or Hindrance?

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  • Jo Blanden
  • Lindsey Macmillan
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    Abstract

    Evidence on intergenerational income mobility in the UK is dated. This paper seeks to update our knowledge by introducing new estimates of mobility for later measures of earnings in the 1958 and 1970 birth cohorts. Given poor or non-existent data on more recent cohorts we adopt an indirect approach to assessing more recent mobility trends. This exploits the close link between income persistence across generations and the gap in educational achievement by family background (referred to as educational inequality). We gather a comprehensive set of data which measures educational inequality for different cohorts at different points in the education system. We conclude that educational inequality has declined for cohorts born after 1980, and this is associated with rising average educational achievement. In contrast, evidence on high attainment does not reveal that educational inequality has declined; this suggests that policy seeking to promote equality of opportunity should encourage students to aim high.

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    File URL: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/case/cp/casepaper179.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE in its series CASE Papers with number /179.

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    Date of creation: Jan 2014
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    Handle: RePEc:cep:sticas:/179

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    Web page: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/case/_new/publications/default.asp

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    Keywords: intergenerational income mobility;

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    1. Chevalier, Arnaud, 2011. "Subject choice and earnings of UK graduates," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1187-1201.
    2. Steven Mcintosh, 2006. "Further Analysis of the Returns to Academic and Vocational Qualifications," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 68(2), pages 225-251, 04.
    3. Jo Blanden & Stephen Machin, 2004. "Educational Inequality and the Expansion of UK Higher Education," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 51(2), pages 230-249, 05.
    4. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan, 2007. "Accounting for Intergenerational Income Persistence: Noncognitive Skills, Ability and Education," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(519), pages C43-C60, 03.
    5. Grawe, Nathan D., 2006. "Lifecycle bias in estimates of intergenerational earnings persistence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 13(5), pages 551-570, October.
    6. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan, 2013. "Intergenerational Persistence in Income and Social Class: The Impact of Within-Group Inequality," CEP Discussion Papers dp1242, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    7. Lindley, Joanne & Machin, Stephen, 2012. "The Quest for More and More Education: Implications for Social Mobility," IZA Discussion Papers 6581, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. A. B. Atkinson & S. P. Jenkins, 1984. "The Steady-State Assumption and the Estimation of Distributional and Related Models," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(3), pages 358-376.
    9. Chul-In Lee & Gary Solon, 2006. "Trends in Intergenerational Income Mobility," NBER Working Papers 12007, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Steven Haider & Gary Solon, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variation in the Association between Current and Lifetime Earnings," NBER Working Papers 11943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Dearden, Lorraine, et al, 2002. "The Returns to Academic and Vocational Qualifications in Britain," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 249-74, July.
    12. Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan, 2009. "Family Income and Education in the Next Generation: Exploring income gradients in education for current cohorts of youth," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 09/223, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    13. John Jerrim, 2012. "The Socio‚ÄźEconomic Gradient in Teenagers' Reading Skills: How Does England Compare with Other Countries?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 33(2), pages 159-184, 06.
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