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Assessing Changes in Intergenerational Earnings Mobility

  • Bratberg, Espen

    ()

    (University of Bergen)

  • Nilsen, Øivind Anti

    ()

    (Norwegian School of Economics)

  • Vaage, Kjell

    ()

    (University of Bergen)

Previous research on changes in intergenerational mobility suggests that mobility is decreasing over time. One explanation for this pattern is increased cross-sectional income inequality. In contrast to most other OECD countries, income inequality in Norway has been remarkably stable through large parts of the 1980s and the 1990s, not least due to a compression of the earnings distribution during the same period. Using longitudinal data for Norwegian children born in 1950, 1955, 1960, and 1965, we find a relatively high degree of earnings mobility. Furthermore, there is no tendency to increasing inequality along this dimension. This finding supports the hypothesis that intergenerational mobility is positively correlated with a compressed income distribution. Quartile father-child earnings transition matrices, together with non-parametric regressions, indicate quite high mobility in the middle of the distribution and somewhat more persistence at the top and bottom. This approach also reveals increased mobility over time for sons, but a less clear picture for daughters.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 797.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as 'Intergenerational Earnings Mobility in Norway: Levels and Trends' in: Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 2005, 107(3), 419-435
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp797
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  1. Blanden, Jo & Alissa Goodman & Paul Gregg & Stephen Machin, 2002. "Changes in Intergenerational Mobility in Britain," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 31, Royal Economic Society.
  2. Aaberge, Rolf, et al, 2000. " Unemployment Shocks and Income Distribution: How Did the Nordic Countries Fare during Their Crises?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(1), pages 77-99, March.
  3. Miles Corak & Andrew Heisz, 1998. "The Intergenerational Earnings and Income Mobility of Canadian," Labor and Demography 9808001, EconWPA.
  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.
  5. Raaum,O. & Salvanes,K.G. & Sorensen,E.O., 2001. "The neighbourhood is not what it used to be : has there been equalisation of opportunity across families and communities in Norway," Memorandum 36/2001, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  6. Susan E. Mayer & Leonard Michael Lopoo, 2001. "Has the Intergenerational Transmission of Economic Status Changed?," JCPR Working Papers 227, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  7. Dearden, Lorraine & Machin, Stephen & Reed, Howard, 1997. "Intergenerational Mobility in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(440), pages 47-66, January.
  8. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
  9. Bjorklund, Anders & Jantti, Markus, 1997. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in Sweden Compared to the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 1009-18, December.
  10. Gustafsson, Bjorn, 1994. "The Degree and Pattern of Income Immobility in Sweden," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 40(1), pages 67-86, March.
  11. 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.
  12. Osterberg, Torun, 2000. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in Sweden: What Do Tax-Data Show?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(4), pages 421-36, December.
  13. Zimmerman, David J, 1992. "Regression toward Mediocrity in Economic Stature," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 409-29, June.
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