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Estimating Nonlinear Intergenerational Income Mobility with Correlation Curves




A correlation curve is proposed as an alternative measure to study the degree of intergenerational income mobility, i.e. how income status is related between parents and adult child. The method overcomes the shortcomings of the elasticity of children’s income with respect to fathers’ income (i.e. its sensitiveness to different dispersion among the generations) and the correlation coefficient (i.e. its inability to capture nonlinearities). The method is particularly suitable for comparative studies and in this study is applied to labour income in comparison to disposable income. Nonlinear correlation curves are found, which in some cases substantially differ from corresponding nonlinear elasticities.

Suggested Citation

  • William Nilsson, 2013. "Estimating Nonlinear Intergenerational Income Mobility with Correlation Curves," DEA Working Papers 57, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Departament d'Economía Aplicada.
  • Handle: RePEc:ubi:deawps:57

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Couch, Kenneth A. & Lillard, Dean R., 1998. "Sample selection rules and the intergenerational correlation of earnings," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 313-329, September.
    2. Steven Haider & Gary Solon, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variation in the Association between Current and Lifetime Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1308-1320, September.
    3. Bjorklund, Anders & Chadwick, Laura, 2003. "Intergenerational income mobility in permanent and separated families," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 239-246, August.
    4. Eric R. Eide & Mark H. Showalter, 1999. "Factors Affecting the Transmission of Earnings across Generations: A Quantile Regression Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(2), pages 253-267.
    5. Solon, Gary, 1999. "Intergenerational mobility in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 29, pages 1761-1800 Elsevier.
    6. Osterberg, Torun, 2000. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in Sweden: What Do Tax-Data Show?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(4), pages 421-436, December.
    7. Espen Bratberg & Oivind Anti Nilsen & Kjell Vaage, 2005. "Intergenerational Earnings Mobility in Norway: Levels and Trends," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(3), pages 419-435, September.
    8. Daniel Aaronson & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2008. "Intergenerational Economic Mobility in the United States, 1940 to 2000," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
    9. Zimmerman, David J, 1992. "Regression toward Mediocrity in Economic Stature," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 409-429, June.
    10. Gouskova, Elena & Chiteji, Ngina & Stafford, Frank, 2010. "Estimating the intergenerational persistence of lifetime earnings with life course matching: Evidence from the PSID," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 592-597, June.
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    More about this item


    Intergenerational mobility; nonlinear; nonparametric; correlation curve;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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