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The Intergenerational Income Mobility of Canadian Men


  • Corak, Miles
  • Heisz, Andrew


In this paper we use administrative data associated with the tax system to: (1) document the extent of intergenerational income mobility among Canadian men; and (2) estimate the income disadvantage (in adulthood) of being raised in a low income household. We find that there is considerable intergenerational income mobility in Canada among middle income earners, but that the inheritance of economic status is significant at both the very top and very bottom of the income distribution. About one-third of those in the bottom quartile were raised by fathers who occupied the same position in the income distribution. In fact, the income advantage of someone who had a father in the top decile over someone who had a father in the bottom decile is in the order of 40%. We also discuss some of the policy implications of these findings, as well as some of their limitations and the directions implied for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Corak, Miles & Heisz, Andrew, 1996. "The Intergenerational Income Mobility of Canadian Men," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1996089e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  • Handle: RePEc:stc:stcp3e:1996089e

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andrew Sharpe, 2003. "Why are Americans More Productive than Canadians?," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 6, pages 19-37, Spring.
    2. Paul J. Devereux, 2004. "Changes in Relative Wages and Family Labor Supply," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
    3. Heisz, Andrew & Larochelle-Cote, Sebastien, 2006. "Work Hours Instability in Canada," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2006278e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    4. Mary C. Daly & Robert G. Valletta, 2006. "Inequality and Poverty in United States: The Effects of Rising Dispersion of Men's Earnings and Changing Family Behaviour," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(289), pages 75-98, February.
    5. Susan Johnson & Peter Kuhn, 2004. "Increasing Male Earnings Inequality in Canada and the United States, 1981­1997: The Role of Hours Changes versus Wage Changes," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 30(2), pages 155-176, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Charles Beach & Ross Finnie, 2004. "A longitudinal analysis of earnings change in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(1), pages 219-240, February.
    2. Epstein, Gil S & Lecker, Tikva, 2001. "Multi-Generation Model of Immigrant Earnings: Theory and Application," CEPR Discussion Papers 2750, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Blanden, Jo, 2009. "How much can we learn from international comparisons of intergenerational mobility?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28283, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Arnaud Lefranc & Alain Trannoy, 2005. "Intergenerational earnings mobility in France: Is France more mobile than the U.S.?," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 78, pages 57-77.
    5. Weizsäcker, Robert K. von, 1997. "Chancengleichheit, Statusmobilität und öffentliche Bildungsinvestitionen," Discussion Papers 557, Institut fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre und Statistik, Abteilung fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre.
    6. Grawe, Nathan D., 2001. "In Search of Intergenerational Credit Constraints Among Canadian Men: Quantile Versus Mean Regression Tests for Binding Credit Constraints," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2001158e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    7. Miles Corak, 2001. "Are the Kids All Right? Intergenerational Mobility and Child Well-being in Canada," The Review of Economic Performance and Social Progress,in: Andrew Sharpe, Executive Director & France St-Hilaire, Vice-President , Research & Keith Banting, Di (ed.), The Review of Economic Performance and Social Progress 2001: The Longest Decade: Canada in the 1990s, volume 1 Centre for the Study of Living Standards;The Institutute for Research on Public Policy.
    8. Statistics Canada, 2003. "Life Cycle Bias in the Estimation of Intergenerational Earnings Persistence," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2003207e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    9. Yuksel, Mutlu, 2009. "Intergenerational Mobility of Immigrants in Germany: Moving with Natives or Stuck in their Neighborhoods?," IZA Discussion Papers 4677, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Gaviria, Alejandro, 2002. "Intergenerational mobility, sibling inequality and borrowing constraints," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 331-340, August.
    11. Nathan Grawe, 2008. "The quality–quantity trade-off in fertility across parent earnings levels: a test for credit market failure," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 29-45, March.
    12. Donal O’Neill & Olive Sweetman & Dirk Van de gaer, 2007. "The effects of measurement error and omitted variables when using transition matrices to measure intergenerational mobility," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 5(2), pages 159-178, August.


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