Countercyclical School Attainment and Intergenerational Mobility
43 Pages Posted: 8 May 2018
Date Written: May 2018
We study how economic conditions at the time of choosing post-compulsory education affect intergenerational mobility. Exploiting local variation in birthplace unemployment rate at age 16 across 23 cohorts in France, we find that cohorts deciding on post-compulsory education in bad economic times are more educationally intergenerationally mobile – their level of educational attainment is less related to having a white-collar father. These cohorts are also more occupationally intergenerationally mobile; and a large fraction of this effect is explained by business cycle-induced differences in educational attainment. Results are robust to accounting for differential spatial mobility between birth and age 16 by parental occupation. Finally, we provide additional evidence that high local unemployment at age 16 increases the relative school enrollment rate of children of blue collar workers the year after – at age 17.
Keywords: Intergenerational mobility, business cycle, human capital, occupational choice
JEL Classification: J24, I21, E24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation