IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

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.

in new window

Date of creation: 23 Jan 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:qss:dqsswp:1401
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Quantitative Social Science. UCL IOE, 20 Bedford Way London WC1H 0AL
Phone: (44) (0)20 7612 6654. Eliminate (44) and add (0) if calling from inside the UK. Add (44) and eliminate (0) if calling from abroad.
Fax: (44) (0)20 7612 6686
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan, 2013. "Intergenerational Persistence in Income and Social Class: The Impact of Within-Group Inequality," CEP Discussion Papers dp1242, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Chevalier, Arnaud, 2011. "Subject Choice and Earnings of UK Graduates," IZA Discussion Papers 5652, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Steven Haider & Gary Solon, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variation in the Association between Current and Lifetime Earnings," NBER Working Papers 11943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Lindsey MacMillan, 2007. "Accounting for Intergenerational Income Persistence: Noncognitive Skills, Ability and Education," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0307, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  7. 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.
  8. Dearden, Lorraine, et al, 2002. "The Returns to Academic and Vocational Qualifications in Britain," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 249-74, July.
  9. 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.
  10. Steven Mcintosh, 2006. "Further Analysis of the Returns to Academic and Vocational Qualifications," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 68(2), pages 225-251, 04.
  11. 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.
  12. Grawe, Nathan D., 2006. "Lifecycle bias in estimates of intergenerational earnings persistence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(5), pages 551-570, October.
  13. 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.
  14. Jo Blanden & Stephen Machin, 2004. "Educational inequality and the expansion of UK higher education," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 17497, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  15. 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.
  16. Lindley, Joanne & Machin, Stephen, 2012. "The Quest for More and More Education: Implications for Social Mobility," IZA Discussion Papers 6581, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:qss:dqsswp:1401. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bilal Nasim)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.