Sibling Similarity and Difference in Socioeconomic Status: Life Course and Family Resource Effects
For decades, geneticists and social scientists have relied on sibling correlations as indicative of the effects of genes and environment on behavioral traits and socioeconomic outcomes. The current paper advances this line of inquiry by exploring sibling similarity across a variety of socioeconomic outcomes and by providing answers to two relatively under-examined questions: do siblings' socioeconomic statuses diverge or converge across the life course? And do siblings from demographic groups that putatively differ on the degree of opportunity they enjoy vary with respect to how similar they turn out? Findings inform theoretical debates over parental investment models, especially in relation to diverging opportunities and capital constraints, and life course status attainment models. We report three new findings. First, sibling resemblance in occupational prestige is explained almost entirely by shared education, and sibling resemblance in family income is explained almost entirely by the combination of shared education, occupational prestige, and earnings. This is contrasted to sibling resemblance in earnings and wealth, as siblings retain 60 percent of their resemblance in earnings once we control for education and occupational prestige, and siblings retain more than 30 percent of their resemblance in wealth once we control for all other socioeconomic outcomes. Second, across the life course, siblings converge in earnings and income and maintain stable correlations in education, occupational prestige, and wealth. Third, black siblings have significantly lower correlations on earnings and income than nonblack siblings overall, but black siblings dramatically converge in income across the life course -- in their twenties black siblings have a .181 correlation in income and above age 40 they have a .826 correlation in income -- suggesting almost complete social reproduction in income by the fifth decade of life for African Americans. This pattern does not hold for nonblack siblings. Furthermore, when we split the sample by class and age, we find the opposite effect: by age 40 and above, siblings from higher SES families tend to increase in their resemblance while those from lower SES families do not. Descriptive accounts about the openness of American society, then, strongly depend on which group we are talking about and at which stage in the life course we measure economic status.
|Date of creation:||May 2005|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Gary Solon & Marianne E. Page & Greg J. Duncan, 2000. "Correlations Between Neighboring Children In Their Subsequent Educational Attainment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 383-392, August.
- 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.
- Susan E. Mayer & Leonard M. Lopoo, 2005. "Has the Intergenerational Transmission of Economic Status Changed?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(1).
- Susan E. Mayer & Leonard M. Lopoo, 2001. "Has the Intergenerational Transmission of Economic Status Changed?," Working Papers 0116, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
- Susan E. Mayer & Leonard M. Lopoo, 2004. "Has the Intergenerational Transmission of Economic Status Changed?," Working Papers 0414, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
- David Grusky & Thomas DiPrete, 1990. "Recent trends in the process of stratification," Demography, Springer, vol. 27(4), pages 617-637, November.
- David I. Levine & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2003. "The growing importance of family and community: an analysis of changes in the sibling correlation in earnings," Working Paper Series WP-03-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
- Björklund, Anders & Eriksson, Tor & Jäntti, Markus & Raaum, Oddbjørn & Österbacka, Eva, 2000.
"Brother Correlations in Earnings in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden Compared to the United States,"
IZA Discussion Papers
158, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Markus Jäntti & Eva Österbacka & Oddbjörn Raaum & Tor Eriksson & Anders Björklund, 2002. "Brother correlations in earnings in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden compared to the United States," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 757-772.
- Behrman, Jere R & Pollak, Robert A & Taubman, Paul, 1982. "Parental Preferences and Provision for Progeny," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(1), pages 52-73, February.
- Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst, 2003.
"The Correlation of Wealth across Generations,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1155-1182, December.
- Mary Corcoran & Roger H. Gordon & Deborah Laren & Gary Solon, 1989. "Effects of Family and Community Background on Men's Economic Status," NBER Working Papers 2896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Behrman, Jere R & Rosenzweig, Mark R & Taubman, Paul, 1994. "Endowments and the Allocation of Schooling in the Family and in the Marriage Market: The Twins Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1131-74, December.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11320. 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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.