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Intergenerational Social Mobility and Assortative Mating in Britain

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  • Ermisch, John

    ()
    (University of Oxford)

  • Francesconi, Marco

    ()
    (University of Essex)

Abstract

This paper investigates the links between the socio-economic position of parents and the socio-economic position of their offspring and, through the marriage market, the socioeconomic position of their offspring’s parents-in-law. Using the Goldthorpe-Hope score of occupational prestige as a measure of status and samples drawn from the British Household Panel Survey 1991-1999, we find that the intergenerational elasticity is around 0.2 for men and between 0.17 and 0.23 for women. On average, the intragenerational correlation is lower, and of the order of 0.15 to 0.18, suggesting that the returns to human capital, which is transmitted across generations by altruistic parents, contribute more to social status than assortative mating in the marriage market. Substantially higher estimates are reported when measurement error is accounted for. We also find strong nonlinearities, whereby both inter- and intra-generational elasticities tend to increase with parental status. We offer four possible explanations for this finding, three of which – one based on mean-displacement shifts in the occupational prestige distribution, another based on life-cycle effects and the third based on differential measurement errors – do not find strong support in our data. The fourth explanation is based on the notion of intergenerational transmission of social capital and intellectual capital. The evidence supports the idea that richer parents are likely to have a larger and more valuable stock of both social capital and intellectual capital to pass on to their children.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 465.

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Length: 66 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp465

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Keywords: Goldthorpe-Hope; occupational prestige index; assortative mating; marriage market; Intergenerational links; social and intellectual capital;

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References

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  1. Divorce laws and inequality
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2006-12-22 07:40:00
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Cited by:
  1. Cheti Nicoletti & Marco Francesconi, 2006. "Intergenerational mobility and sample selection in short panels," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(8), pages 1265-1293.
  2. Miguel A. Malo & Fernando Muñoz-Bullón, 2003. "Long-Term Effects Of Involuntary Job Separations On Labour Careers," Business Economics Working Papers, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía de la Empresa wb034211, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía de la Empresa.
  3. Gershuny, Jonathan, 2002. "Beating the odds (2): a new index of intergenerational social mobility," ISER Working Paper Series 2002-18, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  4. Blanden, Joanne, 2005. "Amour et argent : mobilite intergenerationnelle et appariement conjugal d'apres le revenu des parents," Direction des etudes analytiques : documents de recherche, Statistics Canada, Direction des etudes analytiques 2005272f, Statistics Canada, Direction des etudes analytiques.
  5. Blanden, Joanne, 2005. "Love and Money: Intergenerational Mobility and Marital Matching on Parental Income," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch 2005272e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  6. Philipp Bauer & Regina Riphahn, 2007. "Heterogeneity in the intergenerational transmission of educational attainment: evidence from Switzerland on natives and second-generation immigrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 121-148, February.
  7. Ermisch, John, 2004. "Parent and adult-child interactions: empirical evidence from Britain," ISER Working Paper Series 2004-02, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  8. Ermisch, John, 2006. "Fairness in the family: implications for parent-adult child interactions," ISER Working Paper Series 2006-13, Institute for Social and Economic Research.

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