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The Great Escape: Intergenerational Mobility in the United States Since 1940

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  • Nathaniel G. Hilger

Abstract

I develop a method to estimate intergenerational mobility (IM) in education on large cross-sectional surveys and apply the method to U.S. census data from 1940 to 2000. The method estimates IM directly for children age 26-29 who still live with parents and adjusts for independent children using a procedure that I validate extensively. Estimates imply large post-1940 gains in IM that were (1) driven primarily by large IM gains in the South for both whites and blacks, (2) larger for blacks due to their greater concentration in the South, and (3) driven by high school rather than college enrollment.

Suggested Citation

  • Nathaniel G. Hilger, 2015. "The Great Escape: Intergenerational Mobility in the United States Since 1940," NBER Working Papers 21217, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21217
    Note: CH DAE ED LS PE
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • N01 - Economic History - - General - - - Development of the Discipline: Historiographical; Sources and Methods
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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