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Intergenerational Mobility in Latin America

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  • Jere R. Behrman
  • Alejandro Gaviria
  • Miguel Székely

Abstract

High inequality has long been regarded as one of the main problems facing Latin American countries. To understand better the determinants of inequality and to help guide thinking about policy options, it is useful to know whether inequality mainly reflects low intergenerational mobility or whether it is driven by differences in individual characteristics that arise independently of family background. In this paper we use five household surveys with questions about parental socioeconomic characteristics for adults, and a set of 112 standard household surveys to examine the intergenerational transmission of schooling and occupational status in Latin America and the United States. We find that intergenerational mobility is much higher in the United States than in Latin America, that there are sizable differences in mobility within Latin America, and that mobility in Latin America is strongly associated with schooling levels and expenditures on education.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank in its series IDB Publications with number 6485.

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Date of creation: Jun 2001
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Handle: RePEc:idb:brikps:6485

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Keywords: Poverty; WP-452;

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References

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  1. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1986. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages S1-39, July.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2001. "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," NBER Working Papers 8267, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Behrman, Jere R & Birdsall, Nancy, 1983. "The Quality of Schooling: Quantity Alone is Misleading," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 928-46, December.
  4. Dardanoni Valentino, 1993. "Measuring Social Mobility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 372-394, December.
  5. Lam. D. & Schoeni, R.F., 1996. "Effects on Family Background on Earnings and Returns to Schooling: Evidence from Brazil," Papers, RAND - Reprint Series 96-13, RAND - Reprint Series.
  6. Michael Kremer & Eric Maskin, 1996. "Wage Inequality and Segregation," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1777, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  7. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
  8. Raquel Fernandez & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2001. "Love and Money: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Household Sorting and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 8580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Osterberg, Torun, 2000. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in Sweden: What Do Tax-Data Show?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(4), pages 421-36, December.
  10. George J. Borjas, 1991. "Ethnic Capital and Intergenerational Mobility," NBER Working Papers 3788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Jere R. Behrman & Alejandro Gaviria Uribe & Miguel Székely, 2001. "Intergenerational Mobility in Latin America," WORKING PAPERS SERIES. DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO, FEDESARROLLO 002914, FEDESARROLLO.
  12. Behrman, Jere R & Taubman, Paul, 1990. "The Intergenerational Correlation between Children's Adult Earnings and Their Parents' Income: Result from the Michigan Panel Survey of Income Dynamics," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 36(2), pages 115-27, June.
  13. Dahan, Momi & Gaviria, Alejandro, 2001. "Sibling Correlations and Intergenerational Mobility in Latin America," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(3), pages 537-54, April.
  14. Suzanne Duryea & Jere R. Behrman & Miguel Székely, 1999. "Schooling Investments and Macroeconomic Conditions: A Micro-Macro Investigation for Latin America and the Caribbean," Research Department Publications, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department 4184, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
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