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What More Than Parental Income? An Exploration of What Swedish Siblings Get from Their Parents

  • Björklund, Anders

    ()

    (SOFI, Stockholm University)

  • Lindahl, Lena

    ()

    (SOFI, Stockholm University)

  • Lindquist, Matthew J.

    ()

    (SOFI, Stockholm University)

Sibling correlations are used as overall measures of the impact of family background and community influences on individual outcomes. While most correlation studies show that siblings are quite similar in terms of future achievement, we lack specific knowledge of what it is about family background that really matters. Studies on intergenerational income mobility show that parental income matters to some extent, but they also show that more than half of the family background and community influences that siblings share are not even correlated with parental income. In this paper, we employ a data set that contains rich information about families in order to explore what factors in addition to parental income can explain why siblings tend to have such similar outcomes. Our results show that measures of family structure and social problems account for very little of sibling similarities in adult income above and beyond that already accounted for by parental income. However, when we add a set of indicators for parental involvement and attitudes, the explanatory power of all our variables increased from about a third (using only traditional indicators of socio-economic status) to just over half. Interestingly, indicators of parents' patience, i.e., propensity to plan ahead and willingness to postpone benefits to the future, are particularly important.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3735.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3735
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  1. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2008. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes," CESifo Working Paper Series 2307, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Roland G. Fryer, Jr. & Steven D. Levitt, 2002. "Understanding the Black-White Test Score Gap in the First Two Years of School," NBER Working Papers 8975, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Hjalmarsson, Randi & Lindquist, Matthew, 2009. "Like Godfather, Like Son: Explaining the Intergenerational Nature of Crime," Research Papers in Economics 2009:18, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. Oddbjørn Raaum & Kjell G. Salvanes & Erik O. Sørensen, 2006. "The Neighbourhood is Not What it Used to be," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(508), pages 200-222, 01.
  7. François Bourguignon & Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Marta Menéndez, 2007. "Inequality Of Opportunity In Brazil," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(4), pages 585-618, December.
  8. Markus Jäntti & Eva Österbacka & Oddbjörn Raaum & Tor Eriksson & Anders Björklund, 2002. "Brother correlations in earnings in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden compared to the United States," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 757-772.
  9. Marianne E. Page & Gary Solon, 2003. "Correlations between sisters and neighbouring girls in their subsequent income as adults," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 545-562.
  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. Bhashkar Mazumder, 2008. "Sibling similarities and economic inequality in the US," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 685-701, July.
  12. Marianne E. Page & Gary Solon, 2003. "Correlations between Brothers and Neighboring Boys in Their Adult Earnings: The Importance of Being Urban," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(4), pages 831-856, October.
  13. Björklund, Anders & Sundström, Marianne, 2004. "Parental Separation and Children's Educational Attainment: A Siblings Analysis on Swedish Register Data," Working Paper Series 4/2004, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  14. Gary Solon & Marianne E. Page & Greg J. Duncan, 2000. "Correlations Between Neighboring Children In Their Subsequent Educational Attainment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 383-392, August.
  15. Mason, Patrick, 2007. "Intergenerational mobility and interraical inequality:the return to family values," MPRA Paper 11327, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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