Intergenerational Mobility in the United States and Great Britain: A Comparative Study of Parent–Child Pathways

25 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2014

See all articles by Jo Blanden

Jo Blanden

London School of Economics; University of Surrey; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Robert Haveman

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Timothy M. Smeeding

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Kathryn Wilson

Kent State University - College of Business Administration

Date Written: September 2014

Abstract

We build on cross‐national research to examine the relationships underlying estimates of relative intergenerational mobility in the United States and Great Britain using harmonized longitudinal data and focusing on men. We examine several pathways by which parental status is related to offspring status, including education, labor market attachment, occupation, marital status, and health, and perform several sensitivity analyses to test the robustness of our results. We decompose differences between the two nations into that part attributable to the strength of the relationship between parental income and the child's characteristics and the labor market return to those child characteristics. We find that the relationships underlying these intergenerational linkages differ in systematic ways between the two nations. In the United States, primarily because of the higher returns to education and skills, the pathway through offspring education is relatively more important than it is in Great Britain; by contrast, in Great Britain the occupation pathway forms the primary channel of intergenerational persistence.

Keywords: education, intergenerational mobility, occupation

JEL Classification: I24, J24, J62

Suggested Citation

Blanden, Jo and Haveman, Robert H. and Smeeding, Timothy M. and Wilson, Kathryn, Intergenerational Mobility in the United States and Great Britain: A Comparative Study of Parent–Child Pathways (September 2014). Review of Income and Wealth, Vol. 60, Issue 3, pp. 425-449, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2472480 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/roiw.12032

Jo Blanden (Contact Author)

London School of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

University of Surrey

Guildford
Guildford, Surrey GU2 5XH
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Robert H. Haveman

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Economics ( email )

1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706
United States
608-263-7398 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Timothy M. Smeeding

University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )

1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706
United States
608-890-1317 (Phone)
608-265-3119 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.lafollette.wisc.edu/facultystaff/smeeding-timothy.html

Kathryn Wilson

Kent State University - College of Business Administration ( email )

P.O. Box 5190
Kent, OH 44242-0001
United States

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