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Cross-Country Differences in Intergenerational Earnings Mobility

  • Gary Solon

International studies of the extent to which economic status is passed from one generation to the next are important for at least two reasons. First, each study of a particular country characterizes an important feature of that country's income inequality. Second, comparisons of intergenerational mobility across countries may yield valuable clues about how income status is transmitted across generations and why the strength of that intergenerational transmission varies across countries. The first section of this paper explains a benchmark measure of intergenerational mobility commonly used in U.S. studies. The second section summarizes comparable empirical findings that have accumulated so far for countries other than the United States. The third section sketches a theoretical framework for interpreting cross-country differences in intergenerational mobility.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/089533002760278712
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 16 (2002)
Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
Pages: 59-66

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:16:y:2002:i:3:p:59-66
Note: DOI: 10.1257/089533002760278712
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  1. Heisz, Andrew & Corak, Miles, 1998. "The Intergenerational Earnings and Income Mobility of Canadian Men: Evidence from Longitudinal Income Tax Data," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1998113e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  2. Dearden, Lorraine & Machin, Stephen & Reed, Howard, 1997. "Intergenerational Mobility in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(440), pages 47-66, January.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Laura Chadwick & Gary Solon, 2002. "Intergenerational Income Mobility Among Daughters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 335-344, March.
  6. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
  7. Aaberge, Rolf, et al, 2002. "Income Inequality and Income Mobility in the Scandinavian Countries Compared to the United States," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(4), pages 443-69, December.
  8. Kenneth A. Couch & Thomas A. Dunn, 1997. "Intergenerational Correlations in Labor Market Status: A Comparison of the United States and Germany," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(1), pages 210-232.
  9. Gustafsson, Bjorn, 1994. "The Degree and Pattern of Income Immobility in Sweden," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 40(1), pages 67-86, March.
  10. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "Introduction and Summary," NBER Chapters, in: Differences and Changes in Wage Structures, pages 1-22 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Introduction and Summary," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market, pages 1-26 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • George J. Borjas & Richard B. Freeman, 1992. "Introduction and Summary," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration and the Workforce: Economic Consequences for the United States and Source Areas, pages 1-16 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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.
  12. Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
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