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Accounting for Intergenerational Social Immobility in Low- and Middle-Income Countries


  • Fabian Koenings

    (Friedrich Schiller University Jena)

  • Jakob Schwab

    (German Development Institute)


This study investigates the transmission channels of intergenerational social immobility in developing countries. From rich longitudinal data elicited throughout children's childhood and youth, we extract latent factors of their development process. These factors comprise individual attributes as well as characteristics of children's environments. We decompose social immobility by analyzing the extent to which the different factors mediate the link between the socioeconomic statuses of parents and children. The findings indicate that relevant factors for the intergenerational transmission of socioeconomic status in developed countries - such as children's cognitive skills and aspirations - are also important in developing countries. Moreover, we confirm conjecture about the role of transmission channels that are specific to the developing country context, namely starting a family while underage and having to perform child labor. Other factors - most notably various non-cognitive skills - play no role.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabian Koenings & Jakob Schwab, 2020. "Accounting for Intergenerational Social Immobility in Low- and Middle-Income Countries," Jena Economic Research Papers 2020-008, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, revised 12 Mar 2021.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2020-008

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paolo Acciari & Alberto Polo & Giovanni L. Violante, 2022. "And Yet It Moves: Intergenerational Mobility in Italy," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 118-163, July.
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    More about this item


    Intergenerational social mobility; transmission mechanisms; low- and middle-income countries; decomposition; mediation analysis; factor analysis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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