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The Role of Parental Income over the Life Cycle: A Comparison of Sweden and the UK

  • Björklund, Anders

    ()

    (SOFI, Stockholm University)

  • Jäntti, Markus

    ()

    (SOFI, Stockholm University)

  • Nybom, Martin

    ()

    (SOFI, Stockholm University)

Research on intergenerational income mobility has shown stronger persistence between parental and offspring's income in the UK than in Sweden. We use similar data sets for the two countries to explore whether these cross-national differences show up already early in offspring's life in outcomes such as birth weight, grades at the end of compulsory school at age 16, height during adolescence, and final educational attainment. We do indeed find significant country differences in the association between parental income and these outcomes, and the associations are stronger in the UK than in Sweden. Therefore, we continue to investigate whether these differentials are large enough to account for a substantial part of the difference in intergenerational persistence estimates. We then conclude that the country differences in the intergenerational associations in birth weight and height are too weak to account for hardly any fraction of the UK-Sweden difference in intergenerational income mobility. For the more traditional human-capital variables grades and final education, however, our results suggest that the country differences can account for a substantial part of the difference in income persistence.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7066.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7066
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  1. Borghans, Lex & Golsteyn, Bart H. H. & Heckman, James & Humphries, John Eric, 2011. "Identification Problems in Personality Psychology," Working Paper Series 5/2011, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  2. Lundborg, Petter & Nystedt, Paul & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2009. "The Height Premium in Earnings: The Role of Physical Capacity and Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 4266, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Nybom, Martin & Stuhler, Jan, 2011. "Heterogeneous Income Profiles and Life-Cycle Bias in Intergenerational Mobility Estimation," IZA Discussion Papers 5697, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. 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.
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