Is There Wealth Stability Across Generations in the U.S.? Evidence from Panel Study, 1984-2013
48 Pages Posted:
Date Written: April 17, 2019
The wealth accumulation of parents appears to be strongly determinative of the wealth holdings of their adult children. However, previous research finds that parent-to-child estimates are likely to underestimate the full extent of social mobility and inequality in the US economy. This paper includes a focus on the grandparent generation in order to provide a more complete picture on economic transfers in the extended family. Using panel data, this paper finds that grandparents and parents have significant effects on asset (e.g. stocks, savings, homeownership) and net wealth building for the current generation. As a result, the children of white parents and grandparents may have higher wealth positions, but there is little intergenerational mobility in wealth. Also, while the children of black parents and grandparents have wealth positions that lag far behind that of white families, black children still also face very little intergenerational mobility in wealth. These findings shed light on the connection between intergenerational networks, asset building, and intergroup disparities in wealth.
Keywords: stratification economics, intergenerational transfers, wealth inequality, elasticity, racial inequality
JEL Classification: Z13, D31, D64, J15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation