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Intergenerational income mobility: access to top jobs, the low-pay no-pay cycle and the role of education in a common framework

Author

Listed:
  • Paul Gregg

    () (University of Bath)

  • Lindsey Macmillan

    (University College London)

  • Claudia Vittori

    (National Institute for the Analysis of Public Policy (INAPP))

Abstract

Abstract Studies of intergenerational mobility have typically focused on estimating the average persistence across generations. Here, we use the relatively new unconditional quantile regression technique to consider how intergenerational persistence varies across the distribution of sons’ earnings. We find a J-shaped relationship between parental income and sons’ earnings, with parental income a strong predictor of labour market success for those at the bottom, and to an even greater extent, the top of the earnings distribution. We explore the role early skills, education and early labour market attachment in shaping this pattern for the first time. Worryingly, we find that the association with childhood parental income dominating that of a high level of education at the top of the distribution of earnings. In this sense, education is not as meritocratic as we might hope, as those with the same detailed educational attainment still see a strong association between their earnings and their parental income. Early labour market spells out of work have lasting effects on those at the bottom, alongside parental income.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan & Claudia Vittori, 2019. "Intergenerational income mobility: access to top jobs, the low-pay no-pay cycle and the role of education in a common framework," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 32(2), pages 501-528, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:32:y:2019:i:2:d:10.1007_s00148-018-0722-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s00148-018-0722-z
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    References listed on IDEAS

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