Three-Generation Mobility in the United States, 1850-1940: The Role of Maternal and Paternal Grandparents
52 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2016
Date Written: March 2016
This paper estimates intergenerational elasticities across three generations in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We extend the methodology in Olivetti and Paserman (2015) to explore the role of maternal and paternal grandfathers for the transmission of economic status to grandsons and granddaughters. We document three main findings. First, grandfathers matter for income transmission, above and beyond their effect on fathers' income. Second, the socio-economic status of grandsons is influenced more strongly by paternal grandfathers than by maternal grandfathers. Third, maternal grandfathers are more important for granddaughters than for grandsons, while the opposite is true for paternal grandfathers. We present a model of multi-trait matching and inheritance that can rationalize these findings.
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