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Education and Intergenerational Mobility: Help or Hindrance?

  • Jo Blanden

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Surrey)

  • Lindsey Macmillan

    ()

    (Department of Quantitative Social Science, Institute of Education, University of London)

Evidence on intergenerational income mobility in the UK is dated. This paper seeks to update our knowledge by introducing new estimates of mobility for later measures of earnings in the 1958 and 1970 birth cohorts. Given poor or non-existent data on more recent cohorts we adopt an indirect approach to assessing more recent mobility trends. This exploits the close link between income persistence across generations and the gap in educational achievement by family background (referred to as educational inequality). We gather a comprehensive set of data which measures educational inequality for different cohorts at different points in the education system. We conclude that educational inequality has declined for cohorts born after 1980, and this is associated with rising average educational achievement. In contrast, evidence on high attainment does not reveal that educational inequality has declined; this suggests that policy seeking to promote equality of opportunity should encourage students to aim high.

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Paper provided by Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London in its series DoQSS Working Papers with number 14-01.

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Date of creation: 23 Jan 2014
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Handle: RePEc:qss:dqsswp:1401
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Quantitative Social Science. UCL IOE, 20 Bedford Way London WC1H 0AL
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Web page: http://www.ioe.ac.uk/research/departments/qss/35445.html

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  1. Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan, 2009. "Family Income and Education in the Next Generation: Exploring income gradients in education for current cohorts of youth," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 09/223, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  2. A. B. Atkinson & S. P. Jenkins, 1984. "The Steady-State Assumption and the Estimation of Distributional and Related Models," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(3), pages 358-376.
  3. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan, 2006. "Accounting for intergenerational income persistence: non-cognitive skills, ability and education," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19401, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Nicoletti Cheti & Ermisch John F, 2008. "Intergenerational Earnings Mobility: Changes across Cohorts in Britain," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(2), pages 1-38, January.
  5. Steven McIntosh, 2004. "Further analysis of the returns to academic and vocational qualifications," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19472, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Joanne Lindley & Stephen Machin, 2012. "The Quest for More and More Education: Implications for Social Mobility," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 33(2), pages 265-286, 06.
  7. Steven Haider & Gary Solon, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variation in the Association between Current and Lifetime Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1308-1320, September.
  8. Chevalier, Arnaud, 2011. "Subject choice and earnings of UK graduates," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1187-1201.
  9. John Jerrim, 2012. "The Socio‐Economic Gradient in Teenagers' Reading Skills: How Does England Compare with Other Countries?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 33(2), pages 159-184, 06.
  10. Blanden, Jo & Gregg, Paul & Macmillan, Lindsey, 2011. "Intergenerational Persistence in Income and Social Class: The Impact of Within-Group Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 6202, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Yu Zhu & Ian Walker, 2011. "Differences by Degree: Evidence of the Net Financial Rates of Return to Undergraduate Study for England and Wales," Working Papers 33, AlmaLaurea Inter-University Consortium.
  12. Lorraine Dearden & Steven McIntosh & Michal Myck & Anna Vignoles, 2000. "The Returns to Academic and Vocational Qualifications in Britain," CEE Discussion Papers 0004, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  13. Jo Blanden & Stephen Machin, 2004. "Educational Inequality and the Expansion of UK Higher Education," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 51(2), pages 230-249, 05.
  14. Grawe, Nathan D., 2006. "Lifecycle bias in estimates of intergenerational earnings persistence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(5), pages 551-570, October.
  15. Chul-In Lee & Gary Solon, 2009. "Trends in Intergenerational Income Mobility," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(4), pages 766-772, November.
  16. Anthony Heath & Alice Sullivan & Vikki Boliver & Anna Zimdars, 2013. "Education under New Labour, 1997–2010," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(1), pages 227-247, SPRING.
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