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What Do We Know So Far about Multigenerational Mobility?


  • Solon, Gary

    () (University of Arizona)


Multigenerational mobility refers to the associations in socioeconomic status across three or more generations. This article begins by summarising the longstanding but recently growing empirical literature on multigenerational mobility. It then discusses multiple theoretical interpretations of the empirical patterns, including the one recently proposed in Gregory Clark's book The Son Also Rises.

Suggested Citation

  • Solon, Gary, 2017. "What Do We Know So Far about Multigenerational Mobility?," IZA Discussion Papers 10623, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10623

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hertz, Tom, 2008. "A group-specific measure of intergenerational persistence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 100(3), pages 415-417, September.
    2. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, January.
    3. Robert Lucas & Sari Kerr, 2013. "Intergenerational income immobility in Finland: contrasting roles for parental earnings and family income," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(3), pages 1057-1094, July.
    4. Maia Güell & José V. Rodríguez Mora & Christopher I. Telmer, 2015. "The Informational Content of Surnames, the Evolution of Intergenerational Mobility, and Assortative Mating," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(2), pages 693-735.
    5. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1994. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 257-298 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Behrman, Jere & Tarbman, Paul, 1985. "Intergenerational Earnings Mobility in the United States: Some Estimates and a Test of Becker's Intergenerational Endowments Model," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(1), pages 144-151, February.
    7. Gregory Clark & Neil Cummins, 2015. "Intergenerational Wealth Mobility in England, 1858–2012: Surnames and Social Mobility," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(582), pages 61-85, February.
    8. Peters, H Elizabeth, 1992. "Patterns of Intergenerational Mobility in Income and Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 456-466, August.
    9. Darren Lubotsky & Martin Wittenberg, 2006. "Interpretation of Regressions with Multiple Proxies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 549-562, August.
    10. Mikael Lindahl & Mårten Palme & Sofia Sandgren Massih & Anna Sjögren, 2015. "Long-Term Intergenerational Persistence of Human Capital: An Empirical Analysis of Four Generations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(1), pages 1-33.
    11. Raj Chetty & Nathaniel Hendren & Patrick Kline & Emmanuel Saez, 2014. "Where is the land of Opportunity? The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(4), pages 1553-1623.
    12. Borjas, George J, 1993. "The Intergenerational Mobility of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 113-135, January.
    13. repec:hrv:faseco:30750027 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Mary Corcoran & Roger Gordon & Deborah Laren & Gary Solon, 1992. "The Association between Men's Economic Status and Their Family and Community Origins," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(4), pages 575-601.
    15. George J. Borjas, 1992. "Ethnic Capital and Intergenerational Mobility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 123-150.
    16. Daniel Aaronson & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2008. "Intergenerational Economic Mobility in the United States, 1940 to 2000," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
    17. Gregory Clark, 2015. "The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 10181-2.
    18. Robert Hodge, 1966. "Occupational mobility as a probability process," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 3(1), pages 19-34, March.
    19. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
    20. 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.
    21. Robert Mare, 2011. "A Multigenerational View of Inequality," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(1), pages 1-23, February.
    22. Zhen Zeng & Yu Xie, 2014. "The Effects of Grandparents on Children’s Schooling: Evidence From Rural China," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(2), pages 599-617, April.
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    More about this item


    multigenerational mobility;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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