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

Author

Listed:
  • Björklund, Anders

    () (SOFI, Stockholm University)

  • Jäntti, Markus

    () (SOFI, Stockholm University)

  • Nybom, Martin

    () (SOFI, Stockholm University)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Björklund, Anders & Jäntti, Markus & Nybom, Martin, 2012. "The Role of Parental Income over the Life Cycle: A Comparison of Sweden and the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 7066, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7066
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Martin Nybom & Jan Stuhler, 2016. "Heterogeneous Income Profiles and Lifecycle Bias in Intergenerational Mobility Estimation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(1), pages 239-268.
    3. Borghans Lex & Golsteyn Bart H.H. & Heckman James & Humphries John Eric, 2011. "Identification Problems in Personality Psychology," Research Memorandum 025, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
    4. 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).
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    Cited by:

    1. Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan & Claudia Vittori, 2015. "Nonlinear Estimation of Lifetime Intergenerational Economic Mobility and the Role of Education," DoQSS Working Papers 15-03, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    2. Michele Raitano & Francesco Vona, 2015. "Direct and Indirect Influences of Parental Background on Children's Earnings: a Comparison across Countries and Genders," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 83(4), pages 423-450, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    birth weight; intergenerational mobility; height; human capital;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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