Are Estimates of Intergenerational Mobility Biased by Non-Response? Evidence from the Netherlands

52 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2018

See all articles by Bart Golsteyn

Bart Golsteyn

Maastricht University - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI)

Stefa Hirsch

Maastricht University

Abstract

Intergenerational mobility is often studied using survey data. In such settings, selective unit or item non-response may bias estimates. Linking Dutch survey data to administrative income data allows us to examine whether selective responses bias the estimated relationship between parental income and children's mathematics and language test scores in grades 6 and 9. We find that the estimates of these relationships are biased downward due to parental unit non-response, while they are biased upwards due to item non-response.In the analyses of both unit and item non-response, the point estimates for language and mathematics test scores point in the same direction but only one of the two relationships is significant. These findings suggest that estimates of intergenerational mobility based on survey data need to be interpreted with caution because they may be biased by selective non-response. The direction of such bias is difficult to predict a priori. Bias due to unit and item non-response may work in opposing directions and may differ across outcomes.

Keywords: intergenerational mobility, unit non-response, item non-response

JEL Classification: I24, J62

Suggested Citation

Golsteyn, Bart and Hirsch, Stefa, Are Estimates of Intergenerational Mobility Biased by Non-Response? Evidence from the Netherlands. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11561. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3193315

Bart Golsteyn (Contact Author)

Maastricht University - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, MD6200
Netherlands

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI) ( email )

Kyrkgatan 43B
SE-106 91 Stockholm
Sweden

Stefa Hirsch

Maastricht University

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200MD
Netherlands

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