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The Role of Family Risk Attitudes in Education and Intergenerational Mobility: An Empirical Analysis

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  • Mathias Huebener

Abstract

This paper analyses the role of family risk attitudes in intergenerational mobility in incomes and education. Based on 1984-2009 data of sons and fathers from the German Socio-Economic Panel Survey, there is evidence suggesting that sons with risk taking fathers have a significantly higher educational mobility and persistently higher income mobility than peers with risk averse fathers. They obtain significantly higher levels of education, which would be justified by modest evidence on higher returns to education. The relationship seems more complex for sons' own risk attitudes. Risk taking sons experience higher educational mobility, but there is no difference in income mobility to risk averse sons. There are no considerable differences in the levels of education, but modest evidence suggesting lower returns to education for risk taking sons. The findings improve the understanding of the intergenerational transmission mechanism of economic status and show that family risk attitudes impact economic mobility. The study suggests an important intergenerational link between fathers' risk attitudes and sons' levels of education, which has not received much attention in the literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Mathias Huebener, 2012. "The Role of Family Risk Attitudes in Education and Intergenerational Mobility: An Empirical Analysis," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 529, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp529
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    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.414100.de/diw_sp0529.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. A. B. Atkinson, 1981. "On Intergenerational Income Mobility in Britain," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(2), pages 194-218, January.
    2. Joseph G. Altonji & Thomas A. Dunn, 1995. "The Effects of School and Family Characteristics on the Return to Education," NBER Working Papers 5072, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Belzil, Christian & Leonardi, Marco, 2007. "Can risk aversion explain schooling attainments? Evidence from Italy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 957-970, December.
    4. Debopam Bhattacharya & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2011. "A nonparametric analysis of black–white differences in intergenerational income mobility in the United States," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 2(3), pages 335-379, November.
    5. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1994. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 257-298 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Shirantha Heenkenda & D.P.S Chandrakumara, 2015. "A Canonical Analysis on the Relationship between Financial Risk Tolerance and Household Education Investment in Sri Lanka," International Journal of Innovation and Economic Development, Inovatus Services Ltd., vol. 1(4), pages 7-23, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Risk preferences; intergenerational mobility; educational mobility; social mobility; returns to education; intergenerational income elasticity; educational choice under uncertainty; SOEP;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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