Has the Intergenerational Transmission of Economic Status Changed?
Only a few studies have tried to estimate the trend in the elasticity of children’s economic status with respect to parents’ economic status, and these studies produce conflicting results. In an attempt to reconcile these findings, we use the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to estimate the trend in the elasticity of son’s income with respect to parental income. Our evidence suggests a nonlinear trend in which the elasticity increased for sons born between 1949 and 1953, and then declined for sons born after that. Thus depending on the time periods one compares, the trend could be upward, downward, or flat. This and other factors help explain the different estimates for the trend in mobility.
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