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A New Look at Intergenerational Mobility in Germany Compared to the US

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  • Daniel D. Schnitzlein

Abstract

Motivated by contradictory evidence on intergenerational mobility in Germany, I present a cross-country comparison of Germany and the US, reassessing the question of whether intergenerational mobility is higher in Germany than the US. I can reproduce the standard result from the literature, which states that the German intergenerational elasticity estimates are lower than those for the US. However, based on highly comparable data, even a reasonable degree of variation in the sampling rules leads to similar estimates in both countries. I find no evidence for nonlinearities along the fathers’ earnings distribution. In contrast, the analysis shows that mobility is higher for the sons at the lowest quartile of the sons’ earnings distribution in both countries. In Germany this result is mainly driven by a high downward mobility of sons with fathers in the upper middle part of the earnings distribution. The corresponding pattern is clearly less pronounced in the US.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel D. Schnitzlein, 2014. "A New Look at Intergenerational Mobility in Germany Compared to the US," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 689, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp689
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    2. Jan Kluge & Michael Weber, 2015. "Decomposing the German East-West wage gap," ifo Working Paper Series 205, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    3. Maximilian Stockhausen, 2018. "Like Father, Like Son? – A Comparison of Absolute and Relative Intergenerational Labour Income Mobility in Germany and the US," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 989, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    4. Peter, Frauke H. & Zambre, Vaishali, 2017. "Intended college enrollment and educational inequality: Do students lack information?," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 125-141.
    5. Michele Raitano & Claudia Vittori & Francesco Vona, 2016. "The effect of parental background along the sons’ earnings distribution: does one pattern fit for all?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(15), pages 1073-1078, October.
    6. Dietmar Fehr & Daniel Müller & Marcel Preuss, 2020. "Social Mobility Perceptions and Inequality Acceptance," Working Papers 2020-02, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    7. Iryna Kyzyma & Olaf Groh-Samberg, 2020. "Estimation of intergenerational mobility in small samples: evidence from German survey data," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 151(2), pages 621-643, September.
    8. Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan & Claudia Vittori, 2019. "Intergenerational income mobility: access to top jobs, the low-pay no-pay cycle and the role of education in a common framework," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 32(2), pages 501-528, April.
    9. Coban, Mustafa & Sauerhammer, Sarah, 2017. "Transmission channels of intergenerational income mobility: Empirical evidence from Germany and the Unites States," Discussion Paper Series 138, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Chair of Economic Order and Social Policy.
    10. Francesco Bloise & Michele Raitano, 2019. "Intergenerational earnings elasticity of actual father-son pairs in Italy accounting for lifecycle and attenuation bias," Working Papers 504, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    11. Iryna Kyzyma & Olaf Groh-Samberg, 0. "Estimation of intergenerational mobility in small samples: evidence from German survey data," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-23.
    12. Feld, Lars P. & Schmidt, Christoph M. & Schnabel, Isabel & Truger, Achim & Wieland, Volker, 2019. "Den Strukturwandel meistern. Jahresgutachten 2019/20," Annual Economic Reports / Jahresgutachten, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, volume 127, number 201920.
    13. Daniel Reiter & Mario Thomas Palz & Margareta Kreimer, 2020. "Intergenerational transmission of economic success in Austria with a focus on migration and gender," Journal for Labour Market Research, Springer;Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), vol. 54(1), pages 1-20, December.
    14. Paul Hufe & Andreas Peichl & Daniel Weishaar, 2018. "Intergenerationelle Einkommensmobilität: Schlusslicht Deutschland?," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 71(20), pages 20-28, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    intergenerational mobility; SOEP; CNEF; Germany; US;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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