Three-Generation Mobility in the United States, 1850-1940: The Role of Maternal and Paternal Grandparents

52 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2016

See all articles by Claudia Olivetti

Claudia Olivetti

Boston College; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Daniele Paserman

Boston University - Department of Economics; Hebrew University of Jerusalem; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Laura Salisbury

York University - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 2016

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Olivetti, Claudia and Paserman, Daniele and Salisbury, Laura, Three-Generation Mobility in the United States, 1850-1940: The Role of Maternal and Paternal Grandparents (March 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22094. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2752299

Claudia Olivetti (Contact Author)

Boston College ( email )

140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Daniele Paserman

Boston University - Department of Economics ( email )

270 Bay State Road
Boston, MA 02215
United States

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, IL Jerusalem 91905
Israel

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

Laura Salisbury

York University - Department of Economics ( email )

4700 Keele St.
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

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