A New Look at Intergenerational Mobility in Germany Compared to the U.S

18 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2016

See all articles by Daniel Schnitzlein

Daniel Schnitzlein

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin); University of Hamburg

Date Written: December 2016


Motivated by contradictory evidence on intergenerational mobility in Germany, I present a cross‐country comparison of Germany and the U.S., reassessing the question of whether intergenerational mobility is higher in Germany than in the U.S. I can reproduce the standard result from the literature, which states that the German intergenerational elasticity estimates are lower than those for the U.S. However, based on highly comparable data, even a reasonable degree of variation in the sampling rules leads to similar estimates in both countries. I find no evidence for non‐linearities along the fathers' earnings distribution. In contrast, the analysis shows that mobility is higher for the sons at the lowest quartile of the sons' earnings distribution in both countries. In Germany this result is mainly driven by a high downward mobility of sons with fathers in the upper middle part of the earnings distribution. The corresponding pattern is clearly less pronounced in the U.S.

Keywords: CNEF, Germany, intergenerational mobility, SOEP, US

JEL Classification: J62

Suggested Citation

Schnitzlein, Daniel, A New Look at Intergenerational Mobility in Germany Compared to the U.S (December 2016). Review of Income and Wealth, Vol. 62, Issue 4, pp. 650-667, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2874576 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/roiw.12191

Daniel Schnitzlein (Contact Author)

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstra├če 58
Berlin, 10117

University of Hamburg ( email )

Allende-Platz 1
Hamburg, 20146

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