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The Scandinavian Fantasy: Sources of Intergenerational Mobility in Denmark and the US

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  • Rasmus Landersø
  • James J. Heckman

Abstract

This paper examines the sources of differences in social mobility between the US and Denmark. Measured by income mobility, Denmark is a more mobile society, but not when measured by educational mobility. There are pronounced non‐linearities in income and educational mobility in both countries. Greater Danish income mobility is largely a consequence of redistributional tax, transfer, and wage compression policies. While Danish social policies for children produce more favorable cognitive test scores for disadvantaged children, they do not translate into more favorable educational outcomes, partly because of disincentives to acquire education arising from the redistributional policies that increase income mobility.

Suggested Citation

  • Rasmus Landersø & James J. Heckman, 2017. "The Scandinavian Fantasy: Sources of Intergenerational Mobility in Denmark and the US," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 119(1), pages 178-230, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:119:y:2017:i:1:p:178-230
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/sjoe.12219
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    Cited by:

    1. Carsten Andersen, 2019. "Intergenerational Health Mobility: Evidence from Danish Registers," Economics Working Papers 2019-04, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    2. Jing You & Miguel Niño-Zarazúa, 2017. "Smoothing or strengthening the ‘Great Gatsby Curve’? The intergenerational impact of China’s New Rural Pension Scheme," WIDER Working Paper Series 199, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. repec:eee:eecrev:v:109:y:2018:i:c:p:42-62 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Brenøe, Anne Ardila & Lundberg, Shelly, 2018. "Gender gaps in the effects of childhood family environment: Do they persist into adulthood?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 42-62.
    5. Brantly Callaway & Weige Huang, 2018. "Intergenerational Income Mobility: Counterfactual Distributions with a Continuous Treatment," DETU Working Papers 1801, Department of Economics, Temple University.

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