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Measuring the link between intergenerational occupational mobility and earnings: evidence from 8 European Countries

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Abstract

This paper provides a novel glance on the relationship between family background and earnings applying a synthetic index of social mobility built on distributions of parental and offspring occupational statuses. Using the EU-SILC dataset for 8 countries, our analysis shows that country differences mainly concern residual background correlations, left after controlling for background-related intervening factors such as education and occupation. Significant residual correlations, observed in the UK and in Southern countries, mask respectively penalties to upward mobility and an insurance against downward mobility. Insignificant residual effects encompass significant penalties to both downward and upward mobility in Germany and France, a parachute for self-employed in Ireland and no patterns in Nordic countries. In quantile regressions, residual background correlations appear to increase along the earnings distribution. Even if we are not able to provide causal explanations, we suggest that in unequal countries results would hardly agree with a standard human capital explanation.

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Paper provided by Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE) in its series Documents de Travail de l'OFCE with number 2011-03.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fce:doctra:1103

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Keywords: intergenerational occupational mobility; index of social mobility; economic returns to intergenerational occupational mobility; international comparison.;

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  1. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Lindsey MacMillan, 2007. "Accounting for Intergenerational Income Persistence: Noncognitive Skills, Ability and Education," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0307, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  2. Jo Blanden, 2009. "How Much Can We Learn from International Comparisons of Intergenerational Mobility?," CEE Discussion Papers 0111, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  3. Jo Blanden & Stephen Machin, 2013. "Educational Inequality and The Expansion of UK Higher Education," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 60(5), pages 578-596, November.
  4. Anders Björklund & Mikael Lindahl & Erik Plug, 2006. "The Origins of Intergenerational Associations: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(3), pages 999-1028, 08.
  5. Dan Andrews & Andrew Leigh, 2008. "More Inequality, Less Social Mobility," CEPR Discussion Papers 566, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  6. Yannis M. Ioannides & Linda Datcher Loury, 2004. "Job Information Networks, Neighborhood Effects, and Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1056-1093, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Francesco Vona, 2011. "Does the Expansion of Higher Education Reduce Educational Inequality? Evidence from 12 European Countries," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2011-12, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).

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