Intergenerational Mobility of Immigrants in the Us Over Two Centuries

79 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2019 Last revised: 6 Nov 2019

See all articles by Ran Abramitzky

Ran Abramitzky

Stanford University

Leah Platt Boustan

Princeton University

Elisa Jacome

Princeton University - Department of Economics; Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section

Santiago Pérez

University of California, Davis

Date Written: October 2019

Abstract

Using millions of father-son pairs spanning more than 100 years of US history, we find that children of immigrants from nearly every sending country have higher rates of upward mobility than children of the US-born. Immigrants’ advantage is similar historically and today despite dramatic shifts in sending countries and US immigration policy. In the past, this advantage can be explained by immigrants moving to areas with better prospects for their children and by “under-placement” of the first generation in the income distribution. These findings are consistent with the “American Dream” view that even poorer immigrants can improve their children’s prospects.

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Suggested Citation

Abramitzky, Ran and Boustan, Leah Platt and Jacome, Elisa and Pérez, Santiago, Intergenerational Mobility of Immigrants in the Us Over Two Centuries (October 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w26408. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3476488

Ran Abramitzky (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Leah Platt Boustan

Princeton University ( email )

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

Elisa Jacome

Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section ( email )

United States

Santiago Pérez

University of California, Davis ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Apt 153
Davis, CA 95616
United States

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