Like Father, Like Son? A Note on the Intergenerational Transmission of IQ Scores

18 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2008

See all articles by Sandra E. Black

Sandra E. Black

University of Texas at Austin - Center for Law, Business, and Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics

Paul J. Devereux

University College Dublin - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Kjell G. Salvanes

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Abstract

More able parents tend to have more able children. While few would question the validity of this statement, there is little large-scale evidence on the intergenerational transmission of IQ scores. Using a larger and more comprehensive dataset than previous work, we are able to estimate the intergenerational correlation in IQ scores, examining not just average correlations but also how this relationship varies for different subpopulations. We find that there is substantial intergenerational transmission of IQ scores; an increase in father's IQ at age 18 of 10% is associated with a 3.2% increase in son's IQ at the same age. This relationship holds true no matter how we break the data. This effect is much larger than our estimated elasticity of intergenerational transmission of income of approximately .2.

Keywords: ability, intergenerational mobility

JEL Classification: J0, I0, J1

Suggested Citation

Black, Sandra E. and Devereux, Paul J. and Salvanes, Kjell G., Like Father, Like Son? A Note on the Intergenerational Transmission of IQ Scores. IZA Discussion Paper No. 3651, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1250679 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0042-7092.2007.00700.x

Sandra E. Black (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Austin - Center for Law, Business, and Economics ( email )

Austin, TX
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics

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N-5035 Bergen
Norway

Paul J. Devereux

University College Dublin - Department of Economics ( email )

Belfield
Dublin 4, 4
Ireland

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Kjell G. Salvanes

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics ( email )

Helleveien 30
N-5035 Bergen
Norway
+47 5 595 9315 (Phone)
+47 5 595 9543 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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