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Status Traps

Listed author(s):
  • Steven N. Durlauf

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin, USA)

  • Andros Kourtellos

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Cyprus, Cyprus; The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, Italy)

  • Chih Ming Tan

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of North Dakota, USA; The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, Italy)

In this paper, we explore nonlinearities in the intergenerational mobility process using threshold regression models. We uncover evidence of threshold effects in children’s outcomes based on parental education and cognitive and non-cognitive skills as well as their interaction with offspring characteristics. We interpret these thresholds as organizing dynastic earnings processes into “status traps†. Status traps, unlike poverty traps, are not absorbing states. Rather, they reduce the impact of favorable shocks for disadvantaged children and so inhibit upward mobility in ways not captured by linear models. Our evidence of status traps is based on three complementary datasets; i.e., the PSID, the NLSY, and US administrative data at the commuting zone level, which together suggest that the threshold-like mobility behavior we observe in the data is robust for a range of outcomes and contexts.

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Paper provided by The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis in its series Working Paper Series with number 16-13.

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Date of creation: May 2016
Handle: RePEc:rim:rimwps:16-13
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  1. Miles Corak & Andrew Heisz, 1999. "The Intergenerational Earnings and Income Mobility of Canadian Men: Evidence from Longitudinal Income Tax Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(3), pages 504-533.
  2. Caner, Mehmet & Hansen, Bruce E., 2004. "Instrumental Variable Estimation Of A Threshold Model," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(05), pages 813-843, October.
  3. Cardak, Buly A. & Johnston, David W. & Martin, Vance L., 2013. "Intergenerational earnings mobility: A new decomposition of investment and endowment effects," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 39-47.
  4. Bhashkar Mazumder, 2005. "Fortunate Sons: New Estimates of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States Using Social Security Earnings Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 235-255, May.
  5. Durlauf, Steven N & Johnson, Paul A, 1995. "Multiple Regimes and Cross-Country Growth Behaviour," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(4), pages 365-384, Oct.-Dec..
  6. Casey B. Mulligan, 1999. "Galton versus the Human Capital Approach to Inheritance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 184-224, December.
  7. Durlauf, Steven N, 1996. "A Theory of Persistent Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 75-93, March.
  8. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, 05.
  9. Alexandra L. Minicozzi, 2003. "Estimation of sons' intergenerational earnings mobility in the presence of censoring," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(3), pages 291-314.
  10. Kourtellos, Andros & Stengos, Thanasis & Tan, Chih Ming, 2016. "Structural Threshold Regression," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(04), pages 827-860, August.
  11. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
  12. Nathan D. Grawe, 2004. "Reconsidering the Use of Nonlinearities in Intergenerational Earnings Mobility as a Test for Credit Constraints," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
  13. Hansen, Bruce E, 1996. "Inference When a Nuisance Parameter Is Not Identified under the Null Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 413-430, March.
  14. Bernt Bratsberg & Knut Røed & Oddbjørn Raaum & Robin Naylor & Markus Ja¨ntti & Tor Eriksson & Eva O¨sterbacka, 2007. "Nonlinearities in Intergenerational Earnings Mobility: Consequences for Cross-Country Comparisons," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(519), pages 72-92, 03.
  15. Han, Song & Mulligan, Casey B, 2001. "Human Capital, Heterogeneity and Estimated Degrees of Intergenerational Mobility," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 207-243, April.
  16. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
  17. Moshe Justman & Anna Krush, 2013. "Less Equal and Less Mobile: Evidence of a Decline in Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2013n43, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  18. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1979. "An Equilibrium Theory of the Distribution of Income and Intergenerational Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1153-1189, December.
  19. Debopam Bhattacharya & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2011. "A nonparametric analysis of black–white differences in intergenerational income mobility in the United States," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 2(3), pages 335-379, November.
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