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A new look at intergenerational mobility in Germany compared to the US

Listed author(s):
  • Schnitzlein, Daniel D.

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.

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File URL: http://diskussionspapiere.wiwi.uni-hannover.de/pdf_bib/dp-538.pdf
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Paper provided by Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät in its series Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) with number dp-538.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2014
Handle: RePEc:han:dpaper:dp-538
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  1. Kenneth A. Couch & Thomas A. Dunn, 1997. "Intergenerational Correlations in Labor Market Status: A Comparison of the United States and Germany," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(1), pages 210-232.
  2. Yuksel, Mutlu, 2009. "Intergenerational Mobility of Immigrants in Germany: Moving with Natives or Stuck in their Neighborhoods?," IZA Discussion Papers 4677, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Anders Bohlmark & Matthew J. Lindquist, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variations in the Association between Current and Lifetime Income: Replication and Extension for Sweden," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 879-900, October.
  4. Corak, Miles & Lindquist, Matthew J. & Mazumder, Bhashkar, 2014. "A comparison of upward and downward intergenerational mobility in Canada, Sweden and the United States," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 185-200.
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  6. Bhashkar Mazumder, 2005. "Fortunate Sons: New Estimates of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States Using Social Security Earnings Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 235-255, May.
  7. Steven Haider & Gary Solon, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variation in the Association between Current and Lifetime Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1308-1320, September.
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  9. Schnitzlein Daniel, 2009. "Struktur und Ausmaß der intergenerationalen Einkommensmobilität in Deutschland / Structure and Extent of Intergenerational Income Mobility in Germany," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 229(4), pages 450-466, August.
  10. Gary Solon & Mary Corcoran & GRoger Gordon & Deborah Laren, 1991. "A Longitudinal Analysis of Sibling Correlations in Economic Status," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(3), pages 509-534.
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  14. Eisenhauer, Philipp & Pfeiffer, Friedhelm, 2008. "Assessing intergenerational earnings persistence among German workers," Zeitschrift für ArbeitsmarktForschung - Journal for Labour Market Research, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany], vol. 41(2/3), pages 119-137.
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  16. Nathan D. Grawe, 2004. "Reconsidering the Use of Nonlinearities in Intergenerational Earnings Mobility as a Test for Credit Constraints," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
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  18. Thorsten Vogel, 2006. "Reassessing Intergenerational Mobility in Germany and the United States: The Impact of Differences in Lifecycle Earnings Patterns," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2006-055, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  19. Bernt Bratsberg & Knut Røed & Oddbjørn Raaum & Robin Naylor & Markus Ja¨ntti & Tor Eriksson & Eva O¨sterbacka, 2007. "Nonlinearities in Intergenerational Earnings Mobility: Consequences for Cross-Country Comparisons," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(519), pages 72-92, 03.
  20. Black, Sandra E. & Devereux, Paul J., 2011. "Recent Developments in Intergenerational Mobility," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
  21. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
  22. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1979. "An Equilibrium Theory of the Distribution of Income and Intergenerational Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1153-1189, December.
  23. Zimmerman, David J, 1992. "Regression toward Mediocrity in Economic Stature," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 409-429, June.
  24. 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.
  25. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
  26. Frick, Joachim R. & Jenkings, Stephen P. & Lillard, Dean R. & Lipps, Oliver & Wooden, Mark, 2007. "The Cross-National Equivalent File (CNEF) and Its Member Country Household Panel Studies," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 627-654.
  27. Solon, Gary, 1989. "Biases in the Estimation of Intergenerational Earnings Correlations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(1), pages 172-174, February.
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