The Contribution of Skills and Family Background to Educational Mobility

30 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2017 Last revised: 19 Apr 2019

See all articles by Aldo Rustichini

Aldo Rustichini

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Economics

William G. Iacono

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Psychology

Matt McGue

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Psychology

Date Written: January 2017

Abstract

We study the role of hard and soft skills in economic performance and social mobility in a sample of twins (N = 2,764) from the Minnesota Twin Family Study, combining classical economic models of parental investment with a complete and realistic equilibrium model of genetic transmission of skills. Hard and soft skills have comparable roles in affecting early educational success and college attainment. We then use the information on family background to estimate the determinants of social intergenerational mobility. The transmission of personality characteristics – in particular but not exclusively of intelligence – explains a substantial fraction of upward and downward mobility of children.

Keywords: Genetics, inequality, mobility, soft and hard skills

JEL Classification: D9, J1, J24

Suggested Citation

Rustichini, Aldo and Iacono, William G. and McGue, Matt, The Contribution of Skills and Family Background to Educational Mobility (January 2017). The Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Vol. 119, Issue 1, pp. 148-177, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2894670 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/sjoe.12198

Aldo Rustichini (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Economics ( email )

271 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

William G. Iacono

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Psychology ( email )

Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Matt McGue

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Psychology ( email )

Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

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