Status Traps

57 Pages Posted: 2 May 2016 Last revised: 10 Dec 2017

See all articles by Steven N. Durlauf

Steven N. Durlauf

University of Chicago; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Andros Kourtellos

University of Cyprus - Department of Economics; University of Bologna - Rimini Center for Economic Analysis (RCEA)

Chih Ming Tan

University of North Dakota - College of Business & Public Administration - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 25, 2016

Abstract

In this paper, we explore nonlinearities in the intergenerational mobility process using threshold regression models. We uncover evidence of threshold effects in children’s outcomes based on parental education and cognitive and non-cognitive skills as well as their interaction with offspring characteristics. We interpret these thresholds as organizing dynastic earnings processes into “status traps”. Status traps, unlike poverty traps, are not absorbing states. Rather, they reduce the impact of favorable shocks for disadvantaged children and so inhibit upward mobility in ways not captured by linear models. Our evidence of status traps is based on three complementary datasets; i.e., the PSID, the NLSY, and US administrative data at the commuting zone level, which together suggest that the threshold-like mobility behavior we observe in the data is robust for a range of outcomes and contexts.

Keywords: intergenerational mobility, threshold regression, inequality, poverty traps

JEL Classification: C13, C51, D31, J62

Suggested Citation

Durlauf, Steven N. and Kourtellos, Andros and Tan, Chih Ming, Status Traps (April 25, 2016). Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, 35(2), p. 265-287, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2773692 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2773692

Steven N. Durlauf

University of Chicago ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Andros Kourtellos (Contact Author)

University of Cyprus - Department of Economics ( email )

75 Kallipoleos Street
P.O. Box 20537
1678 Nicosia
Cyprus

University of Bologna - Rimini Center for Economic Analysis (RCEA) ( email )

Via Patara, 3
Rimini (RN), RN 47900
Italy

Chih Ming Tan

University of North Dakota - College of Business & Public Administration - Department of Economics ( email )

293 Centennial Drive Stop 8369
Grand Forks, ND 58202-8369
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/chihmingtan/home

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