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The transmission of longevity across generations: The case of the settler Cape Colony

  • Patrizio Piraino


    (Department of Economics, University of Cape Town)

  • Sean Muller


    (Department of Economics, University of Cape Town)

  • Jeanne Cilliers


    (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

  • Johan Fourie


    (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

The literature on parent-child correlations in socioeconomic status provides little evidence on long-term multigenerational dynamics. This is because most studies of intergenerational status persistence are based on two (at most three) successive generations. Our analysis adds to the intergenerational mobility literature by studying the correlation in longevity across multiple generations of a historical population. By using information on birth and death dates of eighteenth and nineteenth century settlers in South Africa’s Cape Colony, we are able to estimate the intergenerational transmission of longevity, which is found to be positive and significant. Our analysis confirms one of the most consistent findings in the social sciences: the correlation between the status of parents and that of their offspring is positive and significant.

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Paper provided by Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 14/2013.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers190
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