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Intergenerational mobility in Europe: evidence from ECHP


  • Simona Comi



In this paper I provide new evidence on cross-country comparison of intergenerational mobility using the first five waves of the European Community Household Panel focusing on two alternative dimensions of mobility: income and education. I estimate intergeneration earnings elasticity for sons and daughters father pairs and also some synthetic indexes from intergenerational educational transition matrices in 12 European countries. For the first time it can be possible to rank European countries according to their degree of intergenerational income mobility. It turns out that that Italy is the most immobile country in Europe, together with Portugal and Greece when considering sons and with Germany when considering daughters. I find also that fathers behave differently in passing income and education to children accordingly to their sex and find that when a strong link between father and daughter’s income is observed tipically the relation between their level of education is weak, while the reverse can be stated for sons .The paper investigates also how institutional and economic factors can affect mobility and shows that surprisingly, no relation between the income elasticity and earnings returns to human capital emerges that income elasticity seems to be negatively related to public expenditure in tertiary education positively related to the strictness of the employment protection law. Educational mobility across generations seems to be affected by the performance of the education system measured by the proportion of students fall below given benchmarks of educational achievement, it is not affected the percentage of students enrolled in private schools.

Suggested Citation

  • Simona Comi, 2004. "Intergenerational mobility in Europe: evidence from ECHP," CHILD Working Papers wp18_04, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpc:wplist:wp18_04

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Evangelos M. Falaris & H. Elizabeth Peters, 1992. "Schooling Choices and Demographic Cycles," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(4), pages 551-574.
    2. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1994. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 257-298 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. 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.
    4. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
    5. Zimmerman, David J, 1992. "Regression toward Mediocrity in Economic Stature," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 409-429, June.
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    More about this item


    Intergenerational; mobility; Europe; ECHP;

    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid

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