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Intergenerational Economic Mobility in the United States, 1940 to 2000

  • Daniel Aaronson
  • Bhashkar Mazumder

We estimate trends in intergenerational economic mobility by matching men in the Census to synthetic parents in the prior generation. We find that mobility increased from 1950 to 1980 but has declined sharply since 1980. While our estimator places greater weight on location effects than the standard intergenerational coefficient, the size of the bias appears to be small. Our preferred results suggest that earnings are regressing to the mean more slowly now than at any time since World War II, causing economic differences between families to become more persistent. However, current rates of positional mobility appear historically normal.

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File URL: http://jhr.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/43/1/139
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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 43 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:43:y:2008:i:1:p139-172
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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  1. 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.
  2. Joseph G. Altonji & Nicolas Williams, 2005. "Do wages rise with job seniority? A reassessment," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(3), pages 370-397, April.
  3. Daniel Aaronson & Lisa Barrow & William Sander, 2007. "Teachers and Student Achievement in the Chicago Public High Schools," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 95-135.
  4. Arellano, Manuel & Meghir, Costas, 1992. "Female Labour Supply and On-the-Job Search: An Empirical Model Estimated Using Complementary Data Sets," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(3), pages 537-59, July.
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