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Transmission of Human Capital across Four Generations: Intergenerational Correlations and a Test of the Becker-Tomes Model

  • Lindahl, Mikael


    (Uppsala Center for Labor Studies)

  • Palme, Mårten


    (Department of Economics, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden)

  • Sandgren Massih, Sofia


    (Uppsala Center for Labor Studies)

  • Sjögren, Anna


    (IFAU, Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden)

Most previous studies on intergenerational transmission of human capital are restricted to two generations - between the parent and the child generation. In this paper we investigate if there is an independent effect of the grandparent and the great grandparent generations in this process. We use a dataset where we are able to link individual measures of life time earnings for three generation and data on educational attainments of four generations. We first do conventional regressions and transition matrices for life time earnings measures and educational attainments adding variables for the grandparent and great grandparent generations, respectively. We find that grandparents and even great grandparents significantly influence earnings and education. We then estimate the so called Becker-Tomes model using the educational attainment of the great grandparent generation as an instrumental variable. We fail to find support for the models predictions.

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Paper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies with number 2011:21.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 18 Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:uulswp:2011_021
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
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  1. María Sáez-Martí & Anna Sjögren, 2008. "Peers and Culture," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(1), pages 73-92, 03.
  2. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 2013. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Working Papers 2013-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  3. Black, Sandra E. & Devereux, Paul J., 2010. "Recent Developments in Intergenerational Mobility," IZA Discussion Papers 4866, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. 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.
  5. Steven Haider & Gary Solon, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variation in the Association between Current and Lifetime Earnings," NBER Working Papers 11943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Palme, Mårten & Sandgren, Sofia, 2007. "Parental Income, Lifetime Income and Mortality," Research Papers in Economics 2007:4, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
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  9. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:120:y:2005:i:2:p:669-700 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert Tamura, 1994. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 323-350 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Björklund, Anders & Lindahl, Mikael & Plug, Erik, 2005. "The Origins of Intergenerational Associations: Lessons from Swedish Adoption Data," IZA Discussion Papers 1739, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Björklund, Anders & Jäntti, Markus & Lindquist, Matthew J., 2007. "Family Background and Income during the Rise of the Welfare State: Brother Correlations in Income for Swedish Men Born 1932-1968," IZA Discussion Papers 3000, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2004. "Educational reform, ability and family background," IFS Working Papers W04/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  16. Bruce Sacerdote, 2004. "What Happens When We Randomly Assign Children to Families?," NBER Working Papers 10894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Chul-In Lee & Gary Solon, 2009. "Trends in Intergenerational Income Mobility," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(4), pages 766-772, November.
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