IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ces/ceswps/_6955.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Why Do Wealthy Parents Have Wealthy Children?

Author

Listed:
  • Andreas Fagereng
  • Magne Mogstad
  • Marte Rønning

Abstract

Strong intergenerational associations in wealth have fueled a longstanding debate over why children of wealthy parents tend to be well off themselves. We investigate the role of family background in determining children’s wealth accumulation and investor behavior as adults. The analysis is made possible by linking Korean-born children who were adopted at infancy by Norwegian parents to a population panel data set with detailed information on disaggregated wealth portfolios and socio-economic characteristics. The mechanism by which these Korean- Norwegian adoptees were assigned to adoptive families is known and effectively random. We use the quasi-random assignment to estimate the causal effects from an adoptee being raised in one type of family versus another. Our findings show that family background matters significantly for children’s accumulation of wealth and investor behavior as adults, even when removing the genetic connection between children and the parents raising them. In particular, adoptees raised by wealthy parents are more likely to be well off themselves, whereas adoptees’ stock market participation and portfolio risk are increasing in the financial risk taking of their adoptive parents. The detailed nature of our data allows us to explore mechanisms, assess the generalizability of the lessons from adoptees, and compare our findings to results from behavioral genetics decompositions.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Fagereng & Magne Mogstad & Marte Rønning, 2018. "Why Do Wealthy Parents Have Wealthy Children?," CESifo Working Paper Series 6955, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6955
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.cesifo.org/DocDL/cesifo1_wp6955.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Adrian Adermon & Mikael Lindahl & Daniel Waldenström, 2018. "Intergenerational Wealth Mobility and the Role of Inheritance: Evidence from Multiple Generations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 128(612), pages 482-513, July.
    2. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2012. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 645-677.
    3. Helena Holmlund & Mikael Lindahl & Erik Plug, 2011. "The Causal Effect of Parents' Schooling on Children's Schooling: A Comparison of Estimation Methods," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(3), pages 615-651, September.
    4. Roine, Jesper & Waldenström, Daniel, 2014. "Long-Run Trends in the Distribution of Income and Wealth," Working Paper Series 1021, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    5. James Heckman & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter Savelyev, 2013. "Understanding the Mechanisms through Which an Influential Early Childhood Program Boosted Adult Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2052-2086, October.
    6. Dearden, Lorraine & Machin, Stephen & Reed, Howard, 1997. "Intergenerational Mobility in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(440), pages 47-66, January.
    7. James J. Heckman & Stefano Mosso, 2014. "The Economics of Human Development and Social Mobility," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 689-733, August.
    8. E. Black , Sandra & Devereux, Paul & Lundborg, Petter & Majlesi, Kaveh, 2015. "Poor Little Rich Kids? The Determinants of the Intergenerational Transmission of Wealth," Knut Wicksell Working Paper Series 2015/6, Lund University, Knut Wicksell Centre for Financial Studies.
    9. Anders Björklund & Mikael Lindahl & Erik Plug, 2006. "The Origins of Intergenerational Associations: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 999-1028.
    10. James J. Heckman & Rodrigo Pinto, 2015. "Econometric Mediation Analyses: Identifying the Sources of Treatment Effects from Experimentally Estimated Production Technologies with Unmeasured and Mismeasured Inputs," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(1-2), pages 6-31, February.
    11. Andreas Fagereng & Charles Gottlieb & Luigi Guiso, 2017. "Asset Market Participation and Portfolio Choice over the Life-Cycle," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 72(2), pages 705-750, April.
    12. Black, Sandra E. & Devereux, Paul J., 2011. "Recent Developments in Intergenerational Mobility," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 16, pages 1487-1541, Elsevier.
    13. Bonin, Holger & Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2007. "Cross-sectional earnings risk and occupational sorting: The role of risk attitudes," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 926-937, December.
    14. Laurent E. Calvet & Paolo Sodini, 2014. "Twin Picks: Disentangling the Determinants of Risk-Taking in Household Portfolios," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 69(2), pages 867-906, April.
    15. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2000. ""Beyond the Melting Pot": Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 955-988.
    16. Thomas Piketty & Gabriel Zucman, 2014. "Capital is Back: Wealth-Income Ratios in Rich Countries 1700–2010," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(3), pages 1255-1310.
    17. Sandra E Black & Paul J Devereux & Petter Lundborg & Kaveh Majlesi, 2020. "Poor Little Rich Kids? The Role of Nature versus Nurture in Wealth and Other Economic Outcomes and Behaviours," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(4), pages 1683-1725.
    18. Alessandro Lizzeri & Marciano Siniscalchi, 2008. "Parental Guidance and Supervised Learning," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 1161-1195.
    19. Bruce Sacerdote, 2007. "How Large are the Effects from Changes in Family Environment? A Study of Korean American Adoptees," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 119-157.
    20. Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman, 2016. "Editor's Choice Wealth Inequality in the United States since 1913: Evidence from Capitalized Income Tax Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(2), pages 519-578.
    21. Mark Grinblatt & Matti Keloharju, 2009. "Sensation Seeking, Overconfidence, and Trading Activity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(2), pages 549-578, April.
    22. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst, 2003. "The Correlation of Wealth across Generations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1155-1182, December.
    23. Eika, Lasse & Mogstad, Magne & Vestad, Ola L., 2020. "What can we learn about household consumption expenditure from data on income and assets?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 189(C).
    24. Henrik Cronqvist & Stephan Siegel, 2015. "The Origins of Savings Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 123(1), pages 123-169.
    25. John Y. Campbell, 2006. "Household Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(4), pages 1553-1604, August.
    26. Björklund Anders & Jäntti Markus & Solon Gary, 2007. "Nature and Nurture in the Intergenerational Transmission of Socioeconomic Status: Evidence from Swedish Children and Their Biological and Rearing Parents," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(2), pages 1-23, November.
    27. Erik Plug, 2004. "Estimating the Effect of Mother's Schooling on Children's Schooling Using a Sample of Adoptees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 358-368, March.
    28. Barnea, Amir & Cronqvist, Henrik & Siegel, Stephan, 2010. "Nature or nurture: What determines investor behavior?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(3), pages 583-604, December.
    29. Goldberger, Arthur S, 1978. "The Genetic Determination of Income: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(5), pages 960-969, December.
    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. Sandra E Black & Paul J Devereux & Petter Lundborg & Kaveh Majlesi, 2020. "Poor Little Rich Kids? The Role of Nature versus Nurture in Wealth and Other Economic Outcomes and Behaviours," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(4), pages 1683-1725.
    2. Andreas Fagereng & Luigi Guiso & Davide Malacrino & Luigi Pistaferri, 2020. "Heterogeneity and Persistence in Returns to Wealth," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(1), pages 115-170, January.
    3. Black, Sandra E. & Devereux, Paul J. & Lundborg, Petter & Majlesi, Kaveh, 2015. "On The Origins of Risk-Taking," Working Papers 2015:20, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    4. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Petter Lundborg & Kaveh Majlesi, 2017. "On the Origins of Risk-Taking in Financial Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 72(5), pages 2229-2278, October.
    5. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Petter Lundborg & Kaveh Majlesi, 2015. "Poor Little Rich Kids? - The Determinants of the Intergenerational Transmission of Wealth," Working Papers 201516, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    6. Knüpfer, Samuli & Rantapuska, Elias & Sarvimäki, Matti, 2017. "Social interaction in the family: Evidence from investors’ security holdings," Research Discussion Papers 25/2017, Bank of Finland.
    7. Xu, Yilan & Briley, Daniel A. & Brown, Jeffrey R. & Roberts, Brent W., 2017. "Genetic and environmental influences on household financial distress," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 404-424.
    8. Hu, Yuan & Behrman, Jere R. & Zhang, Junsen, 2021. "The causal effects of parents’ schooling on children's schooling in urban China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 258-276.
    9. Jiaming Soh & Kegon T. K. Tan, 2020. "The Nurture Effects of Multidimensional Parental Skills on College Attainment," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 1-42.
    10. Barnea, Amir & Cronqvist, Henrik & Siegel, Stephan, 2010. "Nature or nurture: What determines investor behavior?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(3), pages 583-604, December.
    11. Arnaud Chevalier & Colm Harmon & Vincent O’ Sullivan & Ian Walker, 2013. "The impact of parental income and education on the schooling of their children," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-22, December.
    12. Meng, Xin & Zhao, Guochang, 2021. "The long shadow of a large scale education interruption: The intergenerational effect," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    13. Adrian Adermon & Mikael Lindahl & Daniel Waldenström, 2018. "Intergenerational Wealth Mobility and the Role of Inheritance: Evidence from Multiple Generations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 128(612), pages 482-513, July.
    14. Simon Halphen Boserup & Wojciech Kopczuk & Claus Thustrup Kreiner, 2018. "Born with a Silver Spoon? Danish Evidence on Wealth Inequality in Childhood," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 128(612), pages 514-544, July.
    15. Laurent E. Calvet & Paolo Sodini, 2014. "Twin Picks: Disentangling the Determinants of Risk-Taking in Household Portfolios," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 69(2), pages 867-906, April.
    16. Sandra E Black & Paul J Devereux & Petter Lundborg & Kaveh Majlesi, 2018. "Learning to Take Risks? The Effect of Education on Risk-Taking in Financial Markets," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 22(3), pages 951-975.
    17. Francisco Gomes & Michael Haliassos & Tarun Ramadorai, 2021. "Household Finance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 59(3), pages 919-1000, September.
    18. Hjalmarsson, Randi & Lindquist, Matthew J., 2013. "The origins of intergenerational associations in crime: Lessons from Swedish adoption data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 68-81.
    19. Adrian Adermon & Mikael Lindahl & Mårten Palme, 2021. "Dynastic Human Capital, Inequality, and Intergenerational Mobility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 111(5), pages 1523-1548, May.
    20. Spencer Bastani & Daniel Waldenström, 2020. "How Should Capital Be Taxed?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(4), pages 812-846, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    intergenerational transmission; wealth; financial risk taking; family background;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

    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:ces:ceswps:_6955. 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://edirc.repec.org/data/cesifde.html .

    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: Klaus Wohlrabe (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cesifde.html .

    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.