The Scandinavian Fantasy: The Sources of Intergenerational Mobility in Denmark and the Us

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

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: January 2017

Abstract

This paper examines the sources of differences in social mobility between the US and Denmark. Measured by income mobility, Denmark is a more mobile society, but not when measured by educational mobility. There are pronounced non‐linearities 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, they do not translate into more favorable educational outcomes, partly because of disincentives to acquire education arising from the redistributional policies that increase income mobility.

Keywords: Comparative analysis of systems, education, inequality, social mobility

JEL Classification: I24, I28, I32, P51

Suggested Citation

Landersø, Rasmus and Heckman, James J., The Scandinavian Fantasy: The Sources of Intergenerational Mobility in Denmark and the Us (January 2017). The Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Vol. 119, Issue 1, pp. 178-230, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2894672 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/sjoe.12219

Rasmus Landersø (Contact Author)

Rockwool Foundation Research Unit ( email )

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James J. Heckman

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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American Bar Foundation

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Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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