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The link between family background and later lifetime income: how does the UK compare to other countries?

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  • John Jerrim

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    (Department of Quantitative Social Science, Institute of Education, University of London)

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    Abstract

    The link between family background and labour market outcomes is an issue of great academic, social and political concern. It is frequently claimed that such intergenerational associations are stronger in Britain than other countries. But is this really true? I investigate this issue by estimating the link between parental education and later lifetime income, using three cross-nationally comparable datasets covering more than 30 countries. My results suggest that the UK is broadly in the middle of the cross-country rankings, with intergenerational associations notably stronger than in Scandinavia but weaker than in Eastern Europe. Overall, I find only limited support for claims that family background is a greater barrier to economic success in Britain than other parts of the developed world.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London in its series DoQSS Working Papers with number 14-02.

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    Date of creation: 03 Feb 2014
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    Handle: RePEc:qss:dqsswp:1402

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    Keywords: intergenerational mobility; parental education; income; PIAAC; EU-SILC;

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    1. Richard Lampard, 2007. "Is Social Mobility an Echo of Educational Mobility? Parents' Educations and Occupations and Their Children's Occupational Attainment," Sociological Research Online, Sociological Research Online, vol. 12(5), pages 16.
    2. A Chevalier & C Harmon & V O'Sullivan & I Walker, 2010. "The Impact of Parental Income and Education on the Schooling of their Children," Working Papers 610852, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    3. John Jerrim, 2012. "The socio-economic gradient in teenagers' literacy skills: how does England compare to other countries?," DoQSS Working Papers 12-04, Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London.
    4. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Wössmann, 2006. "Does Educational Tracking Affect Performance and Inequality? Differences- in-Differences Evidence Across Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages C63-C76, 03.
    5. Stanislav Kolenikov & Gustavo Angeles, 2009. "Socioeconomic Status Measurement With Discrete Proxy Variables: Is Principal Component Analysis A Reliable Answer?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(1), pages 128-165, 03.
    6. Gary Solon, 2002. "Cross-Country Differences in Intergenerational Earnings Mobility," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 59-66, Summer.
    7. Dickson, Matt & Gregg, Paul & Robinson, Harriet, 2013. "Early, Late or Never? When Does Parental Education Impact Child Outcomes?," IZA Discussion Papers 7123, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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