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The link between family background and later lifetime income: how does the UK compare to other countries?

  • John Jerrim

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

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    The link between family background and labour market outcomes is an issue of great academic, social and political concern. It is frequently claimed that such intergenerational associations are stronger in Britain than other countries. But is this really true? I investigate this issue by estimating the link between parental education and later lifetime income, using three cross-nationally comparable datasets covering more than 30 countries. My results suggest that the UK is broadly in the middle of the cross-country rankings, with intergenerational associations notably stronger than in Scandinavia but weaker than in Eastern Europe. Overall, I find only limited support for claims that family background is a greater barrier to economic success in Britain than other parts of the developed world.

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    File URL: http://repec.ioe.ac.uk/REPEc/pdf/qsswp1402.pdf
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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 14-02.

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    Date of creation: 03 Feb 2014
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    Handle: RePEc:qss:dqsswp:1402
    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: http://www.ioe.ac.uk/research/departments/qss/35445.html

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    1. Chevalier, Arnaud & Harmon, Colm P. & O'Sullivan, Vincent & Walker, Ian, 2005. "The Impact of Parental Income and Education on the Schooling of Their Children," IZA Discussion Papers 1496, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Wößmann, 2005. "Does Education Tracking Affect Performance and Inequality? Differences-In-Differences Evidence Across Countries," Discussion Papers 04-026, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    3. Gary Solon, 2002. "Cross-Country Differences in Intergenerational Earnings Mobility," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 59-66, Summer.
    4. Matt Dickson & Paul Gregg & Harriet Robinson, 2014. "Early, Late or Never? When Does Parental Education Impact Child Outcomes?," CEP Discussion Papers dp1295, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    5. Ganzeboom, H.B.G. & de Graaf, P.M. & Treiman, D.J. & de Leeuw, J., 1992. "A standard international socio-economic index of occupational status," WORC Paper 85970031-d601-46e3-befb-1, Tilburg University, Work and Organization Research Centre.
    6. Stanislav Kolenikov & Gustavo Angeles, 2009. "Socioeconomic Status Measurement With Discrete Proxy Variables: Is Principal Component Analysis A Reliable Answer?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(1), pages 128-165, 03.
    7. John Jerrim, 2012. "The socio-economic gradient in teenagers' literacy skills: how does England compare to other countries?," DoQSS Working Papers 12-04, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    8. Richard Lampard, 2007. "Is Social Mobility an Echo of Educational Mobility? Parents' Educations and Occupations and Their Children's Occupational Attainment," Sociological Research Online, Sociological Research Online, vol. 12(5), pages 16.
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