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Mobility Regimes and Parental Wealth: The United States, Germany, and Sweden in Comparison

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  • Fabian T. Pfeffer
  • Martin Hällsten
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    Abstract

    We study the role of parental wealth for children’s educational and occupational outcomes across three types of welfare states and outline a theoretical model that assumes parental wealth to impact offspring’s attainment through two mechanisms, wealth’s purchasing function and its insurance function. We argue that welfare states can limit the purchasing function of wealth, for instance by providing free education and generous social benefits, yet none of the welfare states examined here provides a functional equivalent to the insurance against adverse outcomes afforded by parental wealth. Our empirical evidence of substantial associations between parental wealth and children’s educational success and social mobility in three nations that are marked by large institutional differences is in line with this interpretation and helps us re-examine and extend existing typologies of mobility regimes.

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    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.411432.de/diw_sp0500.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 500.

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    Length: 43 p.
    Date of creation: 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp500

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    1. Christian Belzil & Marco Leonardi, 2007. "Can Risk Aversion Explain Schooling Attainments?: evidence from Italy," Post-Print halshs-00201351, HAL.
    2. Belzil, Christian & Leonardi, Marco, 2007. "Risk Aversion and Schooling Decisions," IZA Discussion Papers 2994, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts of American Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 262-333, April.
    4. Fairlie, Robert W. & Krashinsky, Harry A., 2011. "Liquidity Constraints, Household Wealth, and Entrepreneurship Revisited," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt6hv0m2q6, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
    5. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680.
    6. Seymour Spilerman & François-Charles Wolff, 2012. "Parental wealth and resource transfers : How they matter in France for home ownership and living standards," Working Papers hal-00678988, HAL.
    7. Florencia Torche & Seymour Spilerman, 2005. "Parental Wealth Effects on Living Standards and Asset Holdings: Results from Chile," Labor and Demography 0501005, EconWPA, revised 17 Jan 2005.
    8. Bowles, Samuel, 1972. "Schooling and Inequality from Generation to Generation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(3), pages S219-S51, Part II, .
    9. Robert W. Fairlie & Alicia M. Robb, 2008. "Race and Entrepreneurial Success: Black-, Asian-, and White-Owned Businesses in the United States," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026206281x, January.
    10. Michael F. Lovenheim, 2011. "The Effect of Liquid Housing Wealth on College Enrollment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(4), pages 741 - 771.
    11. Klevmarken, N. Anders, 1989. "Introduction," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(2-3), pages 523-529, March.
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