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Alike in Many Ways: Intergenerational and Sibling Correlations of Brothers' Earnings

  • Paul Bingley
  • Lorenzo Cappellari

We model the correlations of brothers’ life-cycle earnings separating for the first time the effect of paternal earnings from additional residual sibling effects. We identify the two effects by analysing sibling correlations and intergenerational correlations jointly within a unified framework. Our multi-person model of earnings dynamics distinguishes permanent earnings from transitory –serially correlated—shocks, allows for life-cycle effects and nests the models of previous research that have focussed either on intergenerational or sibling correlations. Using data on the Danish population of father/first-son/second-son triplets we find that sibling effects explain between one fourth and one half of inequality in life-cycle earnings, and largely account for individual differences in earnings growth. Intergenerational associations account for a considerable share of overall sibling correlations, between 30 and 60 per cent from youth to maturity. We also find that transitory shocks are correlated across family members, in particular between brothers. Extensions of the model show a distinctive effect of mothers’ human capital on top of fathers’ earnings and no evidence of differential intergenerational transmission between brothers.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3994.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3994
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  1. Nybom, Martin & Stuhler, Jan, 2011. "Heterogeneous Income Profiles and Life-Cycle Bias in Intergenerational Mobility Estimation," IZA Discussion Papers 5697, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Michael Baker & Gary Solon, 1998. "Earnings Dynamics and Inequality among Canadian Men, 1976-1992: Evidence from Longitudinal Income Tax Records," Working Papers baker-98-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  3. Grawe, Nathan D., 2006. "Lifecycle bias in estimates of intergenerational earnings persistence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(5), pages 551-570, October.
  4. Anders Bohlmark & Matthew J. Lindquist, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variations in the Association between Current and Lifetime Income: Replication and Extension for Sweden," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 879-900, October.
  5. Björklund, Anders & Jäntti, Markus & Lindquist, Matthew J., 2007. "Family Background and Income during the Rise of the Welfare State: Brother Correlations in Income for Swedish Men Born 1932-1968," IZA Discussion Papers 3000, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Björklund Anders & Lindahl Lena & Lindquist Matthew J., 2010. "What More Than Parental Income, Education and Occupation? An Exploration of What Swedish Siblings Get from Their Parents," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-40, November.
  7. Paul Bingley & Lorenzo Cappellari & Niels Westergård‐Nielsen, 2013. "Unemployment Insurance, Wage Dynamics and Inequality Over the Life Cycle," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0, pages 341-372, 05.
  8. Øivind Anti Nilsen & Kjell Vaage & Arild Aakvik & Karl Jacobsen, 2012. "Intergenerational Earnings Mobility Revisited: Estimates Based on Lifetime Earnings," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(1), pages 1-23, 03.
  9. Baker, Michael, 1997. "Growth-Rate Heterogeneity and the Covariance Structure of Life-Cycle Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 338-75, April.
  10. Ostrovsky, Yuri, 2012. "The correlation of spouses' permanent and transitory earnings and family earnings inequality in Canada," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 756-768.
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