Has the Intergenerational Transmission of Economic Status Changed?
We use data from the PSID to assess whether the effect of parental income on son's economic status has changed for cohorts born between 1949 and 1965. We find that the effect of parental income on sons' family income and wages at age thirty declined over this period. This was largely because the effect of parental income on son's years of schooling declined. The decline in the effect of parental income is not part of an overall decline in the effect of family background. The effect of parents' education on sons' economic status did not decline and may have increased and the effect of other family background characteristics hardly changed. We suggest that the decline in the effect of parental income on son's income may be due to the increase in government investment in children, especially in their educational attainment.
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