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Intergenerational Social Mobility in European OECD Countries

Listed author(s):
  • Orsetta Causa


  • Sophie Dantan

    (University of Cergy-Pontoise)

  • Åsa Johansson


This paper breaks new ground by providing comparable estimates of intergenerational wage and education persistence across 14 European OECD countries based on a new micro data from Eurostat. A further novelty is that it examines the potential role of public policies and labour and product market institutions in explaining observed differences in intergenerational wage mobility across countries. The empirical estimates show that intergenerational wage persistence is relatively high in southern European countries, as well as in the United Kingdom. Likewise, intergenerational persistence in education is relatively high both in southern European countries and in Luxembourg and Ireland. By contrast, both persistence in wages and education tends to be lower in Nordic countries. In addition, empirical results show that education is one important driver of intergenerational wage persistence across European countries. There is a positive crosscountry correlation between intergenerational wage mobility and redistributive policies, as well as a positive correlation between wage-setting institutions that compress the wage distribution and mobility. Mobilité sociale intergénérationnelle dans les pays européens de l'OCDE Cet article comble une faille dans la littérature en présentant de nouvelles mesures harmonisées du degré de mobilité sociale intergénérationnelle de salaire et d’éducation pour 15 pays européens de l’OCDE, grâce à l’utilisation de nouvelles donnes microéconomiques publiées par Eurostat. Il analyse également le rôle des politiques en vigueur sur le marché du travail et sur le marché des produits dans l’explication des différences de mobilité entre pays. Les estimations suggèrent que la persistance intergénérationnelle des salaires est relativement élevée dans les pays du Sud de l’Europe, ainsi qu’au Royaume-Uni. De la même façon, la persistance intergénérationnelle du niveau d’éducation est relativement élevée dans les pays du Sud de l’Europe, ainsi qu’au Luxembourg. En revanche, la persistance intergénérationnelle, aussi bien du niveau de l’éducation que des salaires, est relativement faible dans les pays nordiques. De plus, les résultats empiriques montrent que dans les pays européens de l’OCDE, l’éducation est un vecteur important de la mobilité sociale intergénérationnelle. L’étude suggère qu’il existe une corrélation positive entre la mobilité sociale intergénérationnelle des salaires et la générosité des politiques de redistribution du revenu, résultat qui s’applique également à l’analyse de l’impact des instances de négociation collective qui compressent la grille salariale.

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 709.

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Date of creation: 07 Jul 2009
Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:709-en
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