Cities as Drivers of Social Mobility
28 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2019
Date Written: January 4, 2019
Intergenerational mobility refers to children moving up from the social class position held by their parents. Previous studies indicate family background as one of the major determinants of socioeconomic mobility and, in general, of individual life chances. This paper extends the standard approach to measure intergenerational social mobility by examining the role of cities where offspring grew up. The idea is that cities can provide resources and opportunities able to increase the chance of employment and status attainment. We assess intergenerational mobility in Italy, the most immobile country in Europe together with Greece and Portugal. We use a data survey provided by the Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), which provides information on the individual-level track of Italian students’ life path from high school to occupation. We merge these data with city-level data on economic conditions, human capital, and social capital. We distinguish between students who attended university in the same province where they presumably grew up and those who migrated to another province for higher education. This allows us to test whether migration affects the shift in occupation type and, if so, which characteristics of cities enhance upward mobility.
Keywords: Intergenerational social mobility; spatial mobility; cities
JEL Classification: J62; R11; R12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation