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Like Father, Like Son? A Note on the Intergenerational Transmission of IQ Scores

Author

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  • Black, Sandra E.

    (Columbia University)

  • Devereux, Paul J.

    (University College Dublin)

  • Salvanes, Kjell G.

    (Norwegian School of Economics)

Abstract

More able parents tend to have more able children. While few would question the validity of this statement, there is little large-scale evidence on the intergenerational transmission of IQ scores. Using a larger and more comprehensive dataset than previous work, we are able to estimate the intergenerational correlation in IQ scores, examining not just average correlations but also how this relationship varies for different subpopulations. We find that there is substantial intergenerational transmission of IQ scores; an increase in father’s IQ at age 18 of 10% is associated with a 3.2% increase in son’s IQ at the same age. This relationship holds true no matter how we break the data. This effect is much larger than our estimated elasticity of intergenerational transmission of income of approximately .2.

Suggested Citation

  • Black, Sandra E. & Devereux, Paul J. & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2008. "Like Father, Like Son? A Note on the Intergenerational Transmission of IQ Scores," IZA Discussion Papers 3651, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3651
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2010. "Small Family, Smart Family? Family Size and the IQ Scores of Young Men," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(1).
    2. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "The More the Merrier? The Effect of Family Size and Birth Order on Children's Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 669-700.
    3. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2011. "Older and Wiser? Birth Order and IQ of Young Men," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 57(1), pages 103-120, March.
    4. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    intergenerational mobility; ability;

    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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