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Intergenerational Health Mobility: Magnitudes and Importance of Schools and Place


  • Jason Fletcher
  • Katie M. Jajtner


Nascent research suggests intergenerational health mobility may be relatively high and non-genetic factors may make room for policy intervention. This project broadens this direction by considering heterogeneous intergenerational health mobility in spatial and contextual patterns. With 14,797 parent-child pairs from a school-based representative panel survey of adolescents (Add Health), this study finds large spatial variation in intergenerational health mobility in the United States. On average relative mobility in this sample is approximately 0.17 and expected health rank for children of parents at the 25th percentile of parent health is 47. These metrics however mask substantial spatial heterogeneity. In cases of low health mobility, rank-rank slopes can approach 0.5 or expected child health rank may only be the 34th percentile. Descriptive school- and contextual-level correlates of this spatial variation indicate localities with higher proportions of non-Hispanic blacks, school PTAs, or a school health education requirement may experience greater health mobility.

Suggested Citation

  • Jason Fletcher & Katie M. Jajtner, 2019. "Intergenerational Health Mobility: Magnitudes and Importance of Schools and Place," NBER Working Papers 26442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26442
    Note: CH HE LS

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    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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