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"And Yet It Moves": Intergenerational Mobility in Italy


  • Paolo Acciari
  • Alberto Polo
  • Giovanni L. Violante


We link tax returns across two generations to provide the first estimate of intergenerational mobility in Italy based on administrative income data. Italy emerges as less immobile than previously depicted by studies using proxies for economic status or survey data with imputation procedures. This conclusion is robust with respect to a number of concerns, both standard when using administrative data and specific to our sample. A 10 percentile increase in parental income is associated with a percentile increase in child income between 2.5 and 3. The expected rank of children born from parents with income below the median is around 0.43. Upward mobility is higher for sons, first-born children, children of self-employed parents, and for those who migrate once adults. We uncover substantial geographical variation in the degree of upward mobility. Provinces in Northern Italy, the richest area of the country, display levels three times as large as those in the South. This regional variation is strongly correlated with local labor market conditions, indicators of family instability, and school quality.

Suggested Citation

  • Paolo Acciari & Alberto Polo & Giovanni L. Violante, 2019. ""And Yet It Moves": Intergenerational Mobility in Italy," NBER Working Papers 25732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25732
    Note: EFG LS

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    Cited by:

    1. David (David Patrick) Madden, 2019. "BMI Mobility and Obesity Transitions Among Children in Ireland," Working Papers 201922, School of Economics, University College Dublin.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics

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