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Cultural Inheritance, Gender, and Intergenerational Occupational Mobility: Evidence from a Developing Economy


  • M. Shahe Emran

    () (Department of Economics/Institute for International Economic Policy, George Washington University)

  • Forhad Shilpi

    () (DECRG, World Bank)


This paper presents evidence on intergenerational occupational mobility from agriculture to the nonfarm sector using survey data from Nepal with a focus on the role played by cultural inheritance and gender norms. In the absence of credible instruments, the degree of selection on observables is used as a guide to the degree of selection on unobservables a la Altonji et. al. (2005) to address the unobserved genetic correlations. The results show that cultural inheritance plays a causal role in intergenerational occupational correlation between the mother and daughter. In contrast, there is no robust evidence that cultural inheritance is important for sons occupation choice. A moderate genetic correlation can easily explain away the estimated partial correlation in non-farm participation between the father and a son.

Suggested Citation

  • M. Shahe Emran & Forhad Shilpi, 2008. "Cultural Inheritance, Gender, and Intergenerational Occupational Mobility: Evidence from a Developing Economy," Working Papers 2008-12, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:gwi:wpaper:2008-12

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anders Björklund & Mikael Lindahl & Erik Plug, 2006. "The Origins of Intergenerational Associations: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 999-1028.
    2. Lam, David & Schoeni, Robert F, 1993. "Effects of Family Background on Earnings and Returns to Schooling: Evidence from Brazil," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 710-740, August.
    3. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
    4. Jere R. Behrman & Alejandro Gaviria & Miguel Székely, 2001. "Intergenerational Mobility in Latin America," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, vol. 0(Fall 2001), pages 1-44, August.
    5. Björklund Anders & Jäntti Markus & Solon Gary, 2007. "Nature and Nurture in the Intergenerational Transmission of Socioeconomic Status: Evidence from Swedish Children and Their Biological and Rearing Parents," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(2), pages 1-23, November.
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    More about this item


    Intergenerational Occupational Correlations; Non-Farm Participation; Gender effect; Cultural Inheritance; Selection on Observables; Selection on Unobservables;

    JEL classification:

    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development


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