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Education and Intergenerational Mobility: Help or Hindrance?

Author

Listed:
  • Jo Blanden

    () (Department of Economics, University of Surrey)

  • Lindsey Macmillan

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Jo Blanden & Lindsey Macmillan, 2014. "Education and Intergenerational Mobility: Help or Hindrance?," DoQSS Working Papers 14-01, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:qss:dqsswp:1401
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan, 2010. "Intergenerational Persistence in Income and Social Class: The Impact of Within-Group Inequality," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 10/230, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    2. 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, April.
    3. Jo Blanden & Stephen Machin, 2013. "Educational Inequality and The Expansion of UK Higher Education," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 60(5), pages 578-596, November.
    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 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.
    6. Walker, Ian & Zhu, Yu, 2011. "Differences by degree: Evidence of the net financial rates of return to undergraduate study for England and Wales," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1177-1186.
    7. Dearden, Lorraine, et al, 2002. "The Returns to Academic and Vocational Qualifications in Britain," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 249-274, July.
    8. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan, 2007. "Accounting for Intergenerational Income Persistence: Noncognitive Skills, Ability and Education," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(519), pages 43-60, March.
    9. Chevalier, Arnaud, 2011. "Subject choice and earnings of UK graduates," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1187-1201.
    10. Grawe, Nathan D., 2006. "Lifecycle bias in estimates of intergenerational earnings persistence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(5), pages 551-570, October.
    11. 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.
    12. 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, June.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. 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, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Claire Crawford & Lindsey Macmillan & Anna Vignoles, 2015. "When and why do initially high attaining poor children fall behind?," DoQSS Working Papers 15-08, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    2. Orhan Torul & Oguz Oztunali, 2017. "Intergenerational Educational Mobility in Europe," Working Papers 2017/03, Bogazici University, Department of Economics.
    3. Silvia Mendolia & Peter Siminski, 2016. "New Estimates of Intergenerational Mobility in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 92(298), pages 361-373, September.
    4. Claire Crawford, 2014. "Socio-economic differences in university outcomes in the UK: drop-out, degree completion and degree class," IFS Working Papers W14/31, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    5. Hellier, Joël, 2017. "Stratified higher education,social mobility at the top and efficiency: The case of the French ‘Grandes écoles’," MPRA Paper 76724, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Arden Finn & Murray Leibbrandt & Vimal Ranchhod, 2016. "Patterns of persistence: Intergenerational mobility and education in South Africa," SALDRU Working Papers 175, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    intergenerational income mobility; educational inequality; children;

    JEL classification:

    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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