The Great Escape: Intergenerational Mobility in the United States Since 1940

88 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2015 Last revised: 23 Jun 2022

See all articles by Nathaniel G. Hilger

Nathaniel G. Hilger

Brown University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: May 2015

Abstract

I develop a method to estimate intergenerational mobility (IM) in education on large cross-sectional surveys and apply the method to U.S. census data from 1940 to 2000. The method estimates IM directly for children age 26-29 who still live with parents and adjusts for independent children using a procedure that I validate extensively. Estimates imply large post-1940 gains in IM that were (1) driven primarily by large IM gains in the South for both whites and blacks, (2) larger for blacks due to their greater concentration in the South, and (3) driven by high school rather than college enrollment.

Suggested Citation

Hilger, Nathaniel G., The Great Escape: Intergenerational Mobility in the United States Since 1940 (May 2015). NBER Working Paper No. w21217, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2612772

Nathaniel G. Hilger (Contact Author)

Brown University - Department of Economics ( email )

64 Waterman Street
Providence, RI 02912
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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