Mobility Across Multiple Generations: The Iterated Regression Fallacy
Conflicting views about the degree of long-run mobility across multiple generations persist because direct empirical evidence is scarce. Predictions are instead routinely derived by iteration of intergenerational measures, a procedure which implies high long-run mobility even when intergenerational mobility is low. However, the assumption that regression implies perpetual regression is a statistical fallacy. I examine this fallacy, its historical background, and its prevalence. I then present various simple models of intergenerational transmission to consider how the relation between intergenerational and multigenerational mobility is affected by elements of the transmission process. I discuss the role of market luck and indirect transmission; the multiplicity of skills; the role of grandparents; and the causal effect of parental income. The direction of bias depends on modeling assumptions, but elementary properties of the transmission process imply that long-run mobility will likely be lower, possibly much lower, than predictions from intergenerational evidence suggest.
|Date of creation:||Dec 2012|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
|Order Information:|| Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- 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 1153-89, December.
- Conlisk, John, 1974. "Can Equalization of Opportunity Reduce Social Mobility?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(1), pages 80-90, March.
- Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, .
"Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families,"
University of Chicago - Population Research Center
84-10, Chicago - Population Research Center.
- Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1986. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages S1-39, July.
- 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.
- Lindahl, Mikael & Palme, Mårten & Sandgren Massih, Sofia & Sjögren, Anna, 2012.
"The intergenerational persistence of human capital: an empirical analysis of four generations,"
Working Paper Series
2012:12, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
- Lindahl, Mikael & Palme, Mårten & Sandgren Massih, Sofia & Sjögren, Anna, 2012. "The Intergenerational Persistence of Human Capital: An Empirical Analysis of Four Generations," IZA Discussion Papers 6463, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Piketty, Thomas, 2000. "Theories of persistent inequality and intergenerational mobility," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 429-476 Elsevier.
- Jeffrey S. Zax & Daniel I. Rees, 2002. "IQ, Academic Performance, Environment, and Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 600-616, November.
- Gregory Clark & Neil Cummins, 2013. "Surnames and social mobility: England 1230-2012," Economic History Working Papers 54515, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
- Friedman, Milton, 1992. "Do Old Fallacies Ever Die?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 2129-32, December.
- Goldberger, Arthur S, 1989.
"Economic and Mechanical Models of Intergenerational Transmission,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 504-13, June.
- Goldberger, A.S., 1989. "Economic And Mechanical Models Of Intergenerational Transmission," Working papers 374, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7072. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.