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Social class, family background, and intergenerational mobility

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  • McIntosh, James
  • Munk, Martin D.

Abstract

This research examines the various approaches taken by economists and sociologists for analyzing intergenerational mobility. Social mobility models based on social classes arising from an occupational classification scheme are analysed. A test for the statistical validity of classification schemes is proposed and tested using Danish sample survey data that was first collected in 1976 and augmented in 2000. This is referred to as a homogeneity test and is a likelihood ratio test of a set of linear restrictions which define social classes. For Denmark it is shown that this test fails for an Erikson-Goldthorpe classification system, raising doubts about the statistical validity of occupational classification systems in general. We also estimate regression models of occupational earnings, household earnings, and educational attainment using family background variables as covariates controlling for unobservables, measurement error, and simultaneous equation bias. In these models homogeneity tests are also rejected. We conclude from these results that the individual's family background has a small but significant impact on lifetime chances which is not captured by the Erikson-Goldthorpe classification scheme.

Suggested Citation

  • McIntosh, James & Munk, Martin D., 2009. "Social class, family background, and intergenerational mobility," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 107-117, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:53:y:2009:i:1:p:107-117
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    2. J. Ignacio Gimenez-Nadal & José Alberto Molina & Yu Zhu, 2018. "Intergenerational mobility of housework time in the United Kingdom," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 911-937, December.
    3. Brown, Sarah & Ortiz-Nuñez, Aurora & Taylor, Karl, 2011. "What will I be when I grow up? An analysis of childhood expectations and career outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 493-506, June.
    4. Troels Krarup & Martin Munk, 2014. "Field theory in cultural capital studies of educational attainment," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/4liqn3p9mp9, Sciences Po.
    5. Cornelia Woll, 2014. "Bank Rescue Schemes in Continental Europe: The Power of Collective Inaction," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/6h0jh7hlm79, Sciences Po.
    6. Wen-Chun Chang, 2013. "Climbing up the Social Ladders: Identity, Relative Income, and Subjective Well-being," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 113(1), pages 513-535, August.

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