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

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  • John Jerrim

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • John Jerrim, 2014. "The link between family background and later lifetime income: how does the UK compare to other countries?," DoQSS Working Papers 14-02, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:qss:dqsswp:1402
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    File URL: http://repec.ioe.ac.uk/REPEc/pdf/qsswp1402.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Arnaud Chevalier & Colm Harmon & Vincent O’ Sullivan & Ian Walker, 2013. "The impact of parental income and education on the schooling of their children," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-22, December.
    2. Jäntti, Markus & Bratsberg, Bernt & Røed, Knut & Raaum, Oddbjørn & Naylor, Robin & Österbacka, Eva & Bjørklund, Anders & Eriksson, Tor, 2005. "American exceptionalism in a new light: a comparison of intergenerational earnings mobility in the Nordic countries, the United Kingdom and the United States," Memorandum 34/2005, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    3. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Wössmann, 2006. "Does Educational Tracking Affect Performance and Inequality? Differences- in-Differences Evidence Across Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages 63-76, March.
    4. Dickson, Matt & Gregg, Paul & Robinson, Harriet, 2013. "Early, Late or Never? When Does Parental Education Impact Child Outcomes?," IZA Discussion Papers 7123, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    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. Steedman, Hilary & McIntosh, Steven, 2001. "Measuring Low Skills in Europe: How Useful Is the ISCED Framework?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 564-581, July.
    7. 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 1-16.
    8. Gary Solon, 2002. "Cross-Country Differences in Intergenerational Earnings Mobility," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 59-66, Summer.
    9. 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, March.
    10. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan & Claudia Vittori, 2015. "Nonlinear Estimation of Lifetime Intergenerational Economic Mobility and the Role of Education," DoQSS Working Papers 15-03, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    2. repec:spr:eujhec:v:19:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10198-017-0867-9 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    intergenerational mobility; parental education; income; PIAAC; EU-SILC;

    JEL classification:

    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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