Gender and Intergenerational Mobility: Using Health Outcomes to Compare Intergenerational Mobility Across Gender and Over Time
Changes in intergenerational mobility over time have been the focus of extensive research. However, existing studies have been limited to studying only males and relying on intergenerational correlations in outcome variables that often lack clear welfare implications. This paper introduces a new methodology for measuring intergenerational mobility that relies on health measures rather than occupational measures to assess the strength of the relationship between the outcomes of parents and their children. It introduces a new intergenerational dataset spanning seven decades that is constructed by linking individuals' death certificates to those of their parents. Relying on death certificates data allows for linking both males and females to their parents. Life span calculated from these death certificates provides a measure of welfare that has a consistent interpretation across time and genders. Intergenerational correlations in life span serve as our measure of mobility. We find that a son's life span is strongly correlated with his father's and that this correlation has strengthened over time. Daughter's life span shows a similarly strong relationship with mother's life span that has remained relatively stable over the past century. Differences in life span are shown to correlate with occupational status and occupational transitions from one generation to the next.
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