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Assessing Changes in Intergenerational Earnings Mobility

Previous research on changes in intergenerational mobility suggests that the mobility is decreasing over time. One explanation for this pattern is increased cross-sectional income inequality. In contrast to most other OECD countries, the income inequality in Norway has been remarkably stable through large parts of the 1980s and the 1990s, not the least due to a compression of the earnings distribution during the same period. Using longitudinal data for Norwegian children born 1950, - 55, -60, and -65, we find a relatively high degree of earnings mobility. Furthermore, there is no tendency to increasing inequality along this dimension. This finding supports the hypothesis that intergenerational mobility is positively correlated with a compressed income distribution. Quartile father-child earnings transition matrices, together with nonparametric regressions, indicate quite high mobility in the middle of the distribution and somewhat more persistence at the top and bottom. This approach also reveals increased mobility over time for sons, but a less clear picture for daughters.

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Paper provided by University of Bergen, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 26/02.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 28 Dec 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:bergec:2002_026
Contact details of provider: Postal: Institutt for økonomi, Universitetet i Bergen, Postboks 7802, 5020 Bergen, Norway
Phone: (+47)55589200
Fax: (+47)55589210
Web page: http://www.uib.no/econ/en
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  1. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, . "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 84-10, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  2. Susan E. Mayer & Leonard Michael Lopoo, 2001. "Has the Intergenerational Transmission of Economic Status Changed?," JCPR Working Papers 227, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  3. Dearden, Lorraine & Machin, Stephen & Reed, Howard, 1997. "Intergenerational Mobility in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(440), pages 47-66, January.
  4. Gustafsson, Bjorn, 1994. "The Degree and Pattern of Income Immobility in Sweden," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 40(1), pages 67-86, March.
  5. Blanden, Jo & Alissa Goodman & Paul Gregg & Stephen Machin, 2002. "Changes in Intergenerational Mobility in Britain," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 31, Royal Economic Society.
  6. Zimmerman, David J, 1992. "Regression toward Mediocrity in Economic Stature," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 409-29, June.
  7. 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.
  8. Raaum,O. & Salvanes,K.G. & Sorensen,E.O., 2001. "The neighbourhood is not what it used to be : has there been equalisation of opportunity across families and communities in Norway," Memorandum 36/2001, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  9. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
  10. 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.
  11. Miles Corak & Andrew Heisz, 1998. "The Intergenerational Earnings and Income Mobility of Canadian," Labor and Demography 9808001, EconWPA.
  12. Aaberge, Rolf, et al, 2000. " Unemployment Shocks and Income Distribution: How Did the Nordic Countries Fare during Their Crises?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(1), pages 77-99, March.
  13. Osterberg, Torun, 2000. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in Sweden: What Do Tax-Data Show?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(4), pages 421-36, December.
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