IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ags/uwarer/269752.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

American exceptionalism in a new light: a comparison of intergenerational earnings mobility in the Nordic countries, the United Kingdom and the United States

Author

Listed:
  • Jantti, Markus
  • Bratsberg, Bernt
  • Roed, Knut
  • Raaum, Oddbjorn
  • Naylor, Robin
  • Osterbacka, Eva
  • Bjorklund, Anders
  • Eriksson, Tor

Abstract

We develop methods and employ similar sample restrictions to analyse differences in intergenerational earnings mobility across the United States, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. We examine earnings mobility among pairs of fathers and sons as well as fathers and daughters using both mobility matrices and regression and correlation coeffi- cients. Our results suggest that all countries exhibit substantial earnings persistence across generations, but with statistically significant differences across countries. Mobility is lower in the U.S. than in the U.K., where it is lower again compared to the Nordic countries. Persistence is greatest in the tails of the distributions and tends to be particularly high in the upper tails: though in the U.S. this is reversed with a particularly high likelihood that sons of the poorest fathers will remain in the lowest earnings quintile. This is a challenge to the popular notion of ’American exceptionalism’. The U.S. also differs from the Nordic countries in its very low likelihood that sons of the highest earners will show downward ’long-distance’ mobility into the lowest earnings quintile. In this, the U.K. is more similar to the U.S..

Suggested Citation

  • Jantti, Markus & Bratsberg, Bernt & Roed, Knut & Raaum, Oddbjorn & Naylor, Robin & Osterbacka, Eva & Bjorklund, Anders & Eriksson, Tor, 2005. "American exceptionalism in a new light: a comparison of intergenerational earnings mobility in the Nordic countries, the United Kingdom and the United States," Economic Research Papers 269752, University of Warwick - Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uwarer:269752
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.269752
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/269752/files/twerp_781.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/269752/files/twerp_781.pdf?subformat=pdfa
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.22004/ag.econ.269752?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kenneth A. Couch & Thomas A. Dunn, 1997. "Intergenerational Correlations in Labor Market Status: A Comparison of the United States and Germany," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(1), pages 210-232.
    2. Espen Bratberg & Øivind Anti Nilsen & Kjell Vaage, 2005. "Intergenerational Earnings Mobility in Norway: Levels and Trends," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(3), pages 419-435, September.
    3. Eriksson, Tor & Bratsberg, Bernt & Raaum, Oddbjørn, 2005. "Earnings persistence across generations: Transmission through health?," Memorandum 35/2005, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    4. Couch, Kenneth A. & Lillard, Dean R., 1998. "Sample selection rules and the intergenerational correlation of earnings," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 313-329, September.
    5. Dearden, Lorraine & Machin, Stephen & Reed, Howard, 1997. "Intergenerational Mobility in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(440), pages 47-66, January.
    6. Eric R. Eide & Mark H. Showalter, 1999. "Factors Affecting the Transmission of Earnings across Generations: A Quantile Regression Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(2), pages 253-267.
    7. A. B. Atkinson, 1981. "On Intergenerational Income Mobility in Britain," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(2), pages 194-218, January.
    8. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2002. "The Inheritance of Inequality," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 3-30, Summer.
    9. Joseph P. Ferrie, 2005. "History Lessons: The End of American Exceptionalism? Mobility in the United States Since 1850," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 199-215, Summer.
    10. David G. Blanchflower & Richard B. Freeman, 2000. "Youth Employment and Joblessness in Advanced Countries," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number blan00-1, May.
    11. Miles Corak & Andrew Heisz, 1999. "The Intergenerational Earnings and Income Mobility of Canadian Men: Evidence from Longitudinal Income Tax Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(3), pages 504-533.
    12. Corak, Miles, 2006. "Do Poor Children Become Poor Adults? Lessons from a Cross Country Comparison of Generational Earnings Mobility," IZA Discussion Papers 1993, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Oddbjørn Raaum & Kjell G. Salvanes & Erik O. Sørensen, 2006. "The Neighbourhood is Not What it Used to be," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(508), pages 200-222, January.
    14. Sari Pekkala & Robert E. B. Lucas, 2004. "On the Importance of Finnishing School: Half a Century of Inter-Generational Economic Mobility in Finland," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-141, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    15. Lindquist, Matthew J. & Böhlmark, Anders, 2005. "Life-Cycle Variations in the Association between Current and Lifetime Income: Country, Cohort and Gender Comparisons," Working Paper Series 4/2005, Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
    16. Robert Erikson & John H. Goldthorpe, 2002. "Intergenerational Inequality: A Sociological Perspective," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 31-44, Summer.
    17. Gary Solon, 2002. "Cross-Country Differences in Intergenerational Earnings Mobility," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 59-66, Summer.
    18. 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 1009-1018, December.
    19. Levine, D.I., 1999. "Choosing the Right Parents: Changes in the Intergenerational Transmission of Inequality Between the 1970s and the Early 1990s," Papers 72, California Berkeley - Institute of Industrial Relations.
    20. Markus Jäntti & Eva Österbacka & Oddbjörn Raaum & Tor Eriksson & Anders Björklund, 2002. "Brother correlations in earnings in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden compared to the United States," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 15(4), pages 757-772.
    21. Steven Haider & Gary Solon, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variation in the Association between Current and Lifetime Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1308-1320, September.
    22. Rui Costa & Stephen Machin, 2019. "The Labour Market," CEP Election Analysis Papers 046, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    23. Solon, Gary, 1999. "Intergenerational mobility in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 29, pages 1761-1800, Elsevier.
    24. Bhashkar Mazumder, 2005. "Fortunate Sons: New Estimates of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States Using Social Security Earnings Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 235-255, May.
    25. Laura Chadwick & Gary Solon, 2002. "Intergenerational Income Mobility Among Daughters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 335-344, March.
    26. Raaum, Oddbjørn & Salvanes, Kjell G. & Sørensen, Erik Ø., 2003. "The Impact of a Primary School Reform on Educational Stratification: A Norwegian Study of Neighbour and School Mate Correlations," IZA Discussion Papers 953, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    27. Eriksson, Tor & Jantti, Markus, 1997. "The distribution of earnings in Finland 1971-1990," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(9), pages 1763-1779, December.
    28. Checchi, Daniele & Ichino, Andrea & Rustichini, Aldo, 1999. "More equal but less mobile?: Education financing and intergenerational mobility in Italy and in the US," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 351-393, December.
    29. Grawe, Nathan D., 2006. "Lifecycle bias in estimates of intergenerational earnings persistence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(5), pages 551-570, October.
    30. Chul-In Lee & Gary Solon, 2009. "Trends in Intergenerational Income Mobility," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(4), pages 766-772, November.
    31. Anders Björklund & Markus Jäntti, 2000. "Intergenerational mobility of socio-economic status in comparative perspective," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 26, pages 3-32.
    32. Bjorklund, Anders & Chadwick, Laura, 2003. "Intergenerational income mobility in permanent and separated families," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 239-246, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Markus Jäntti & Stephen P. Jenkins, 2013. "Income Mobility," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 607, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    2. Anna Christina D'Addio, 2007. "Intergenerational Transmission of Disadvantage: Mobility or Immobility Across Generations?," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 52, OECD Publishing.
    3. Bernt Bratsberg & Knut Røed & Oddbjørn Raaum & Robin Naylor & Markus Ja¨ntti & Tor Eriksson & Eva O¨sterbacka, 2007. "Nonlinearities in Intergenerational Earnings Mobility: Consequences for Cross-Country Comparisons," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(519), pages 72-92, March.
    4. Robert Lucas & Sari Kerr, 2013. "Intergenerational income immobility in Finland: contrasting roles for parental earnings and family income," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(3), pages 1057-1094, July.
    5. Marco Francesconi & Cheti Nicoletti, 2006. "Intergenerational mobility and sample selection in short panels," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(8), pages 1265-1293, December.
    6. Grawe, Nathan D., 2006. "Lifecycle bias in estimates of intergenerational earnings persistence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(5), pages 551-570, October.
    7. Corak, Miles, 2006. "Do Poor Children Become Poor Adults? Lessons from a Cross Country Comparison of Generational Earnings Mobility," IZA Discussion Papers 1993, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Maribel Jiménez, 2011. "Un Análisis Empírico de las No Linealidades en la Movilidad Intergeneracional del Ingreso. El caso de la Argentina," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0114, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    9. Hirvonen, Lalaina, 2006. "Intergenerational Earnings Mobility Among Daughters and Sons: Evidence from Sweden and a Comparison with the United States," Working Paper Series 5/2006, Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
    10. Arnaud Lefranc & Alain Trannoy, 2005. "Intergenerational earnings mobility in France: Is France more mobile than the U.S.?," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 78, pages 57-77.
    11. Honge Gong & Andrew Leigh & Xin Meng, 2012. "Intergenerational Income Mobility In Urban China," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 58(3), pages 481-503, September.
    12. Raaum Oddbjørn & Bratsberg Bernt & Røed Knut & Österbacka Eva & Eriksson Tor & Jäntti Markus & Naylor Robin A, 2008. "Marital Sorting, Household Labor Supply, and Intergenerational Earnings Mobility across Countries," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(2), pages 1-49, January.
    13. Nathalie Chusseau & Joël Hellier & B. Ben-Halima, 2013. "Education, Intergenerational Mobility and Inequality," Palgrave Macmillan Books, in: Joël Hellier & Nathalie Chusseau (ed.), Growing Income Inequalities, chapter 8, pages 227-273, Palgrave Macmillan.
    14. McIntosh, James & Munk, Martin D., 2009. "Social class, family background, and intergenerational mobility," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 107-117, January.
    15. Bertha Rohenkohl, 2019. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the UK:New evidence using the BHPS and Understanding Society," Working Papers 2019017, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
    16. María Cervini-Plá, 2015. "Intergenerational Earnings and Income Mobility in Spain," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 61(4), pages 812-828, December.
    17. Philipp Eisenhauer & Friedhelm Pfeiffer, 2008. "Assessing Intergenerational Earnings Persistence among German Workers," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 134, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    18. Chen, Wen-Hao & Ostrovsky, Yuri & Piraino, Patrizio, 2017. "Lifecycle variation, errors-in-variables bias and nonlinearities in intergenerational income transmission: new evidence from Canada," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 1-12.
    19. Ng, Irene Y.H. & Shen, Xiaoyi & Ho, Kong Weng, 2009. "Intergenerational earnings mobility in Singapore and the United States," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 110-119, March.
    20. Nordin , Martin & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2011. "Ability Heterogeneity in Intergenerational Mobility," Working Papers 2011:18, Lund University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial Economics; International Relations/Trade;

    JEL classification:

    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:uwarer:269752. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: AgEcon Search (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/ .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.