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Intergenerational Persistence in Latent Socioeconomic Status: Evidence from Sweden and the United States


  • Kelly Vosters
  • Martin Nybom


Recently Gregory Clark and coauthors have argued that social mobility rates are constant across countries and lower than traditionally estimated, hypothesizing that prior estimates of intergenerational persistence are attenuated from focusing on a single proxy for underlying status. We test this proposition by incorporating multiple proxy measures into a “least-attenuated” estimate of persistence for Sweden and conducting a Sweden–United States comparison. We find no evidence of substantial bias in prior estimates or of similarity across countries. We further extend our analysis to mothers, finding that additional measures improve the ability to capture transmission from mothers to both sons and daughters.

Suggested Citation

  • Kelly Vosters & Martin Nybom, 2017. "Intergenerational Persistence in Latent Socioeconomic Status: Evidence from Sweden and the United States," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(3), pages 869-901.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/690827
    DOI: 10.1086/690827

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    Cited by:

    1. Amaral, Ernesto F. L. & Yen, Shih-Keng & Wang, Sharron Xuanren, 2019. "A meta-analysis of the association between income inequality and intergenerational mobility," OSF Preprints 8qmhw, Center for Open Science.
    2. Neidhöfer, Guido & Serrano, Joaquín & Gasparini, Leonardo, 2018. "Educational inequality and intergenerational mobility in Latin America: A new database," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 329-349.
    3. Adermon, Adrian & Lindahl, Mikael & Palme, Mårten, 2016. "Dynastic human capital, inequality and intergenerational mobility," Working Paper Series 2016:19, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    4. Güell, Maia & Rodríguez Mora, José Vicente & Solon, Gary, 2018. "New Directions in Measuring Intergenerational Mobility," CEPR Discussion Papers 12959, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Martin Nybom & Jan Stuhler, 2019. "Steady-state assumptions in intergenerational mobility research," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 17(1), pages 77-97, March.
    6. Colagrossi, Marco & d'Hombres, Beatrice & Schnepf, Sylke V., 2019. "Like (Grand)Parent, like Child? Multigenerational Mobility across the EU," IZA Discussion Papers 12302, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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