The Great Escape: Intergenerational Mobility in the United States Since 1940
88 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2015 Last revised: 23 Jun 2022
Date Written: May 2015
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.
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