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Galtonian regression of intergenerational income linkages: biased procedures, a new estimator and mean-square error comparisons

  • Ramses H. Abul Naga

Because the permanent incomes of parents and children are typically unobserved, the estimation of the intergenerational correlation via the use of proxy variables entails an errors-in-variables bias. By solving a system of moment equations for income observed at a given year, and a T-period average of this variable, we derive an analytical form for the signal to total variance ratio. In turn, we propose a simple estimator of the intergenerational elasticity via division of the OLS estimator of this quantity. Estimates of the intergenerational elasticity derived from a PSID sample range between 0.34 and 0.69. The averaging estimator provides intermediary values between OLS and the proposed estimator. Persistence is higher for family income measures than labor market outcomes. Estimates generally increase for moving average specifications in comparison to the assumption that measurement errors are uncorrelated. The three estimators are further examined in the light of their mean-square errors (square bias plus variance).

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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 6564.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:6564
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  2. Griliches, Zvi, 1986. "Economic data issues," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 25, pages 1465-1514 Elsevier.
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  7. Ramses ABUL NAGA & Jaya KRISHNAKUMAR, 1999. "Panel Data Estimation of the Intergenerational Correlation of Incomes," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 9910, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  8. MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1982. "The use of time series processes to model the error structure of earnings in a longitudinal data analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-114, January.
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  10. Solon, Gary, 1989. "Biases in the Estimation of Intergenerational Earnings Correlations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(1), pages 172-74, February.
  11. Bjorklund, Anders & Jantti, Markus, 1997. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in Sweden Compared to the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 1009-18, December.
  12. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-45, March.
  13. Behrman, Jere R & Taubman, Paul, 1990. "The Intergenerational Correlation between Children's Adult Earnings and Their Parents' Income: Result from the Michigan Panel Survey of Income Dynamics," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 36(2), pages 115-27, June.
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  15. Solon, Gary, 1999. "Intergenerational mobility in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 29, pages 1761-1800 Elsevier.
  16. Joseph G. Altonji & Thomas A. Dunn, 1991. "Relationships Among the Family Incomes and Labor Market Outcomes of Relatives," NBER Working Papers 3724, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
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