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Rich Dad, Smart Dad: Decomposing the Intergenerational Transmission of Income

  • Lars Lefgren
  • Matthew J. Lindquist
  • David Sims

We construct a simple model, consistent with Becker and Tomes, that decomposes the intergenerational income elasticity into the causal effect of financial resources, the mechanistic transmission of human capital, and the role that human capital plays in the determination of fathers’ permanent incomes. We show how a particular set of instrumental variables could separately identify the money and human capital transmission effects. Using data from a 35 percent sample of Swedish sons and their fathers, we show that only a minority of the intergenerational income elasticity can be plausibly attributed to the causal effect of fathers’ financial resources.

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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/666590
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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/666590
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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 120 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 268 - 303

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/666590
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE/

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  1. 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.
  2. Björklund, Anders & Jäntti, Markus & Solon, Gary, 2007. "Nature and Nurture in the Intergenerational Transmission of Socioeconomic Status: Evidence from Swedish Children and Their Biological and Rearing Parents," IZA Discussion Papers 2665, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1994. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 257-298 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Arild Aakvik & Kjell G. Salvanes & Kjell Vaage, 2005. "Educational Attainment and Family Background," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 6(3), pages 377-394, 08.
  5. Bjorklund, Anders & Jantti, Markus, 1997. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in Sweden Compared to the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 1009-18, December.
  6. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2002. "Does Increasing Women's Schooling Raise the Schooling of the Next Generation?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 323-334, March.
  7. Bjorklund, Anders & Chadwick, Laura, 2003. "Intergenerational income mobility in permanent and separated families," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 239-246, August.
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