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Choosing the Right Parents: Changes in the Intergenerational Transmission of Inequality Between the 1970s and the early 1990s

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  • Levine, David I.

Abstract

This paper uses the General Social survey and the comparison between the National Longitudinal Survey of Young Men and of Youth to measure how returns to young men's family background have changed from the late 1970's to the late 1980's and early 1990's. Coming from a wealthy family and having a well-educated father who worked in a high-prestige occupation were much more powerful predictors of a young man's success in the later period. In contrast, maternal education was less important in determining a young man's income and educational attainment. Rising returns to education coupled with a constant relation between family background and education explains most of the rising importance of family background.

Suggested Citation

  • Levine, David I., 1999. "Choosing the Right Parents: Changes in the Intergenerational Transmission of Inequality Between the 1970s and the early 1990s," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt9r45b10r, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:indrel:qt9r45b10r
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Susan E. Mayer & Leonard M. Lopoo, 2005. "Has the Intergenerational Transmission of Economic Status Changed?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(1).
    4. Phillip O’Hara, 2004. "A new family-community social structure," Forum for Social Economics, Springer;The Association for Social Economics, vol. 33(2), pages 51-80, March.
    5. Anh Nguyen & Getinet Haile & Jim Taylor, 2005. "Ethnic And Gender Differences In Intergenerational Mobility: A Study Of 26‐Year‐Olds In The Usa," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 52(4), pages 544-564, September.
    6. Barrett, Christopher B., 2003. "The Economics Of Poverty And The Poverty Of Economics: A Christian Perspective," Working Papers 14747, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
    7. Grawe, Nathan D., 2006. "Lifecycle bias in estimates of intergenerational earnings persistence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(5), pages 551-570, October.
    8. David I. Levine & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2003. "The growing importance of family and community: an analysis of changes in the sibling correlation in earnings," Working Paper Series WP-03-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    9. Carlos Urrutia & Marina Mendes Tavares, 2013. "Accounting for the Trends in Inequality and Intergenerational Mobility in the U.S," 2013 Meeting Papers 1256, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Bhashkar Mazumder, 2004. "Sibling similarities, differences and economic inequality," Working Paper Series WP-04-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, revised 2004.
    11. Amy Kate Bailey & Bryan L. Sykes, 2018. "Veteran Status, Income, and Intergenerational Mobility Across Three Cohorts of American Men," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 37(4), pages 539-568, August.
    12. Angela R. Fertig, 2004. "Is Intergenerational Earnings Mobility Affected by Divorce?," Working Papers 953, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    13. 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.
    14. Levine, David I. & Jellema, Jon R., 2005. "Growth, Industrialization, and the Intergenerational Correlation of Advantage," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt2q74s1tg, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    15. Anna Christina D'Addio, 2007. "Intergenerational Transmission of Disadvantage: Mobility or Immobility Across Generations?," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 52, OECD Publishing.
    16. Nguyen, Anh & Getinet, Haile, 2003. "Intergenerational mobility in educational and occupational status: evidence from the U.S," MPRA Paper 1383, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Harding, David J. & Jencks, Christopher & Lopoo, Leonard M. & Mayer, Susan E., 2003. "The Changing Effect of Family Background on the Incomes of American Adults," Working Paper Series rwp03-045, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    18. FAN, Yi, 2016. "Intergenerational income persistence and transmission mechanism: Evidence from urban China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 299-314.
    19. 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).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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