IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Beating the odds (2): a new index of intergenerational social mobility

Listed author(s):
  • Gershuny, Jonathan
Registered author(s):

    The twin starting points for this paper are recent discussions in economic theory concerning the normative foundations for indices of intergenerational mobility, and the development of a human capital score intended (in conjunction with a parallel measure of individual wealth) to act as an indicator of social class. The paper specifies an intergenerational Gini-type mobility index, based on the mean expected earnings of the children of fathers in each class. It makes a series of estimates of mobility in Britain from BHPS lifetime employment history files. The first of these uses the Goldthorpe three-category class schema for both origins and destinations; the resulting estimates suffer from (1) the systematic exclusion of those (particularly women) outside employment, and (2) the effects of the changes in the sizes of the class categories. The second estimation is a hybrid using Goldthorpe (seven category) origins and human capital quintile destination categories; this deals with problem (1) but not problem (2), The third estimation uses human capital quintiles for both origin and destination categories, and avoids both problems. But it is dominated by the fourth approach, a continuous version of the Gini index using scalar variables (the fathers' human capital scores and the children's expected earnings). The women's intergenerational Gini score now shows substantial increases from the 1935-44 birth cohort to the 1955-64 birth cohort; the men's score shows small increases over the same period. The conclusion is that in terms of this index, intergenerational mobility in Britain has become more unequal overall.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series ISER Working Paper Series with number 2002-18.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 01 Sep 2002
    Publication status: published
    Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2002-18
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK

    Phone: 44-1206-872957
    Fax: 44-1206-873151
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    Order Information: Postal: Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK
    Web: Email:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Ermisch, John & Francesconi, Marco, 2002. "Intergenerational Social Mobility and Assortative Mating in Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 465, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2002-18. 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: (Jonathan Nears)

    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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.