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The Inheritance of Educational Inequality: International Comparisons and Fifty-Year Trends


  • Tom Hertz
  • Tamara Jayasundera

    (American University)

  • Patrizio Piraino
  • Sibel Selcuk
  • Nicole Smith
  • Alina Verashchagina


This paper estimates 50-year trends in the intergenerational persistence of educational attainment for a sample of 42 nations around the globe. Large regional differences in educational persistence are documented, with Latin America displaying the highest intergenerational correlations, and the Nordic countries the lowest. We also demonstrate that the global average correlation between parent and child's schooling has held steady at about 0.4 for the past fifty years.

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  • Tom Hertz & Tamara Jayasundera & Patrizio Piraino & Sibel Selcuk & Nicole Smith & Alina Verashchagina, 2007. "The Inheritance of Educational Inequality: International Comparisons and Fifty-Year Trends," Working Papers 2007-013, American University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:amu:wpaper:1307

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard B. Howarth, 2003. "Discounting and sustainability: towards reconciliation," International Journal of Sustainable Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 6(1), pages 87-97.
    2. Jon Wisman, 2011. "Inequality, Social Respectability, Political Power, and Environmental Devastation," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(4), pages 877-900.
    3. Nelson, J.A., 2013. "Ethics and the economist: What climate change demands of us," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 145-154.
    4. Grown, Caren & Elson, Diane & Cagatay, Nilufer, 2000. "Introduction," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(7), pages 1145-1156, July.
    5. Richard Howarth & Richard Norgaard, 1993. "Intergenerational transfers and the social discount rate," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(4), pages 337-358, August.
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    JEL classification:

    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion


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