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Nature and Nurture in the Intergenerational Transmission of Socioeconomic Status: Evidence from Swedish Children and Their Biological and Rearing Parents

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Author Info

  • Björklund, Anders

    ()
    (SOFI, Stockholm University)

  • Jäntti, Markus

    ()
    (SOFI, Stockholm University)

  • Solon, Gary

    ()
    (Michigan State University)

Abstract

This study uses an extraordinary Swedish data set to explore the sources of the intergenerational transmission of socioeconomic status. Merging data from administrative sources and censuses, we investigate the association between sons’ and daughters’ socioeconomic outcomes and those of their biological and rearing parents. Our analysis focuses on children raised in six different family circumstances: raised by both biological parents, raised by the biological mother without a stepfather, raised by the biological mother with a stepfather, raised by the biological father without a stepmother, raised by the biological father with a stepmother, and raised by two adoptive parents. Relative to the existing literature, the most remarkable feature of our data set is that it contains information on the biological parents even when they are not the rearing parents. We specify a simple additive model of pre-birth (including genetic) and post-birth influences and examine the model’s ability to provide a unified account of the intergenerational associations in all six family types. Our results suggest substantial roles for both pre-birth and post-birth factors.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2665.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy: Advances in Economic Analysis and Policy, 2007, 7 (2), Article 4
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2665

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Keywords: education; nature and nurture; intergenerational mobility; family structure;

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References

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  1. Das, Mitali & Sjogren, Tanja, 2002. "The inter-generational link in income mobility: evidence from adoptions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 55-60, March.
  2. Anders Bohlmark & Matthew J. Lindquist, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variations in the Association between Current and Lifetime Income: Replication and Extension for Sweden," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 879-900, October.
  3. 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.
  4. Bruce Sacerdote, 2002. "The Nature and Nurture of Economic Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 344-348, May.
  5. Bjorklund, Anders & Chadwick, Laura, 2003. "Intergenerational income mobility in permanent and separated families," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 239-246, August.
  6. 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.
  7. Erik Plug & Wim Vijverberg, 2005. "Does Family Income Matter for Schooling Outcomes? Using Adoptees as a Natural Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(506), pages 879-906, October.
  8. Erik Plug, 2004. "Estimating the Effect of Mother's Schooling on Children's Schooling Using a Sample of Adoptees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 358-368, March.
  9. 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.
  10. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1979. "An Equilibrium Theory of the Distribution of Income and Intergenerational Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1153-89, December.
  11. Solon, Gary, 1999. "Intergenerational mobility in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 29, pages 1761-1800 Elsevier.
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Cited by:
  1. Paul Gregg & Carol Propper & Elizabeth Washbrook, 2007. "Understanding the relationship between parental income and multiple child outcomes: a decomposition analysis," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6196, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Silke Anger & Guido Heineck, 2009. "Do Smart Parents Raise Smart Children?: The Intergenerational Transmission of Cognitive Abilities," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 156, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  3. Rud, Iryna & Van Klaveren, Chris & Groot, Wim & Maassen van den Brink, Henriëtte, 2014. "The externalities of crime: The effect of criminal involvement of parents on the educational attainment of their children," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 89-103.
  4. M. Shahe Emran & Forhad Shilpi, . "Cultural Inheritance, Gender, and Intergenerational Occupational Mobility: Evidence from a Developing Economy," Working Papers 2008-12, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
  5. Marianne Hansen, 2010. "Change in intergenerational economic mobility in Norway: conventional versus joint classifications of economic origin," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 133-151, June.
  6. Bruno Teodoro Oliva & André Portela Fernandes De Souza & Vladimir Pinheiro Ponczek, 2011. "Os Determinantes Do Fluxo Escolar Entreo Ensino Fundamental E O Ensino Médio No Brasil," Anais do XXXVIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 38th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 165, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
  7. Björklund, Anders & Jäntti, Markus & Roemer, John E., 2011. "Equality of Opportunity and the Distribution of Long-Run Income in Sweden," IZA Discussion Papers 5466, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Lundborg, Petter & Stenberg, Anders, 2009. "Nature, Nurture and Egalitarian Policy: What Can We Learn from Molecular Genetics?," IZA Discussion Papers 4585, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. David, Cesarini & Dawes, Christopher T. & Johannesson, Magnus & Lichtenstein, Paul & Wallace, Björn, 2007. "Genetic Variation in Preferences for Giving and Risk-Taking," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 679, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 12 Jan 2009.
  10. Lefgren, Lars & Lindquist, Matthew & Sims, David, 2009. "Rich Dad, Smart Dad: Decomposing the Intergenerational Transmission of Income," Research Papers in Economics 2009:19, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  11. Hope, David & Bates, Timothy & Penke, Lars & Gow, Alan J. & Starr, John M. & Deary, Ian J., 2013. "Symmetry of the face in old age reflects childhood social status," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 236-244.
  12. Nicolas Hérault & Guyonne Kalb, 2009. "Intergenerational Correlation of Labour Market Outcomes," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2009n14, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  13. Elke Lüdemann, 2011. "Schooling and the Formation of Cognitive and Non-cognitive Outcomes," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 39.
  14. Rampino, Tina & Taylor, Mark P., 2012. "Educational aspirations and attitudes over the business cycle," ISER Working Paper Series 2012-26, Institute for Social and Economic Research.

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