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The Role of Family Risk Attitudes in Education and Intergenerational Mobility: An Empirical Analysis

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  • Mathias Huebener

Abstract

This paper analyses the role of family risk attitudes in intergenerational mobility in incomes and education. Based on 1984-2009 data of sons and fathers from the German Socio-Economic Panel Survey, there is evidence suggesting that sons with risk taking fathers have a significantly higher educational mobility and persistently higher income mobility than peers with risk averse fathers. They obtain significantly higher levels of education, which would be justified by modest evidence on higher returns to education. The relationship seems more complex for sons' own risk attitudes. Risk taking sons experience higher educational mobility, but there is no difference in income mobility to risk averse sons. There are no considerable differences in the levels of education, but modest evidence suggesting lower returns to education for risk taking sons. The findings improve the understanding of the intergenerational transmission mechanism of economic status and show that family risk attitudes impact economic mobility. The study suggests an important intergenerational link between fathers' risk attitudes and sons' levels of education, which has not received much attention in the literature.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.414100.de/diw_sp0529.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 529.

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Length: 52 p.
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp529

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Keywords: Risk preferences; intergenerational mobility; educational mobility; social mobility; returns to education; intergenerational income elasticity; educational choice under uncertainty; SOEP;

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  1. Belzil, Christian & Leonardi, Marco, 2007. "Can risk aversion explain schooling attainments? Evidence from Italy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 957-970, December.
  2. Debopam Bhattacharya & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2011. "A nonparametric analysis of black–white differences in intergenerational income mobility in the United States," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 2(3), pages 335-379, November.
  3. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1994. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 257-298 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Joseph G. Altonji & Thomas A. Dunn, 1995. "The Effects of School and Family Characteristics on the Return to Education," NBER Working Papers 5072, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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