IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

A test of the Becker-Tomes model of human capital transmission using microdata on four generations

  • Lindahl, Mikael


    (Uppsala University, CESifo, IFAU, IZA and UCLS)

  • Palme, Mårten


    (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University)

  • Sandgren Massih, Sofia

    (Uppsala University)

  • Sjögren, Anna

    (IFAU, UCLS and SOFI Stockholm University)

We estimate the well-known Becker-Tomes (1986) model of intergenerational transmission of human capital. A Swedish data set which links individual measures on educational attainments of four generations, enables us to use great grandparents’ education as an instrumental variable. This approach was suggested already in Becker- Tomes (1986) but, because of the lack of data, never implemented. The identifying assumption, which holds within the Becker-Tomes framework, is that great grandparents’ education is unrelated to great grandchild’s education, conditional on the education of the parent and grandparent. We test the prediction that the structural parameter for grandparents’ education enters with a negative sign in an intergenerational regression model where the education of a child is linearly related to the education of the parent and the education of the grandparent. We fail to find empirical support for the model’s predictions.

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 Stockholm University, Department of Economics in its series Research Papers in Economics with number 2013:2.

in new window

Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: 16 Jan 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2013_0002
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 8 16 20 00
Fax: +46 8 16 14 25
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

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.:

as in new window
  1. Plug, Erik & Vijverberg, Wim P., 2001. "Schooling, Family Background, and Adoption: Is it Nature or is it Nurture?," IZA Discussion Papers 247, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Goldberger, A.S., 1989. "Economic And Mechanical Models Of Intergenerational Transmission," Working papers 374, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  3. Helena Holmlund & Mikael Lindahl & Erik Plug, 2011. "The Causal Effect of Parents' Schooling on Children's Schooling: A Comparison of Estimation Methods," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(3), pages 615-51, September.
  4. 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 1153-89, December.
  5. Paul J. Devereux & Sandra E. Black & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "The more the merrier? The effect of family size and birth order on children's education," Open Access publications 10197/310, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  6. Stuhler, Jan, 2012. "Mobility Across Multiple Generations: The Iterated Regression Fallacy," IZA Discussion Papers 7072, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Erik Plug & Wim Vijverberg, 2005. "Does Family Income Matter for Schooling Outcomes? Using Adoptees as a Natural Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(506), pages 879-906, October.
  8. Anders Björklund & Mikael Lindahl & Erik Plug, 2006. "The Origins of Intergenerational Associations: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(3), pages 999-1028, 08.
  9. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1986. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages S1-39, July.
  10. Lefgren, Lars & Lindquist, Matthew & Sims, David, 2009. "Rich Dad, Smart Dad: Decomposing the Intergenerational Transmission of Income," Research Papers in Economics 2009:19, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
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:hhs:sunrpe:2013_0002. 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: (Sten Nyberg)

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.