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Economic Interpretations of Intergenerational Correlations

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  • Nathan D. Grawe
  • Casey B. Mulligan

Abstract

Since accurate prediction ultimately determines the usefulness of theory, our paper gives the reader a taste of some predictions derived from economic theory and some empirical successes and failures. We provide only a taste, because there are a great many economic models relevant to intergenerational correlations — such as models of educational attainment, neighborhood effects in schooling, family formation and fertility choice, occupational choice and discrimination — and quite a variety of predictions that might be derived from these models. However, a simple model of investment and intergenerational decision making can be interpreted as a conceptual aggregation of many more detailed economic models. We present such a model and from it derive one class of predictions that has received substantial attention in the empirical literature — the role of endowments and credit markets in determining intergenerational correlations.

Suggested Citation

  • Nathan D. Grawe & Casey B. Mulligan, 2002. "Economic Interpretations of Intergenerational Correlations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 45-58, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:16:y:2002:i:3:p:45-58
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/089533002760278703
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General

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