The Scandinavian Fantasy: The Sources of Intergenerational Mobility in Denmark and the U.S

73 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2016

See all articles by Rasmus Landersø

Rasmus Landersø

Rockwool Foundation Research Unit

James J. Heckman

University of Chicago - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); American Bar Foundation; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: July 2016

Abstract

This paper examines the sources of differences in social mobility between the U.S. and Denmark. Measured by income mobility, Denmark is a more mobile society, but not when measured by educational mobility. There are pronounced nonlinearities in income and educational mobility in both countries. Greater Danish income mobility is largely a consequence of redistributional tax, transfer, and wage compression policies. While Danish social policies for children produce more favorable cognitive test scores for disadvantaged children, these do not translate into more favorable educational outcomes, partly because of disincentives to acquire education arising from the redistributional policies that increase income mobility.

Suggested Citation

Landersø, Rasmus and Heckman, James J., The Scandinavian Fantasy: The Sources of Intergenerational Mobility in Denmark and the U.S (July 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22465. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2816739

Rasmus Landersø (Contact Author)

Rockwool Foundation Research Unit ( email )

Sejroegade 11
DK-2100 Copenhagen
Denmark

James J. Heckman

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-0634 (Phone)
773-702-8490 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

American Bar Foundation

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Chicago, IL 60611
United States

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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