CROSS-COUNTRY RANKINGS IN INTERGENERATIONAL MOBILITY: A COMPARISON OF APPROACHES FROM ECONOMICS AND SOCIOLOGY

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Abstract

Abstract This paper summarizes research on the relative level of intergenerational mobility – whether classified by income, education or social class. The literatures on education and income mobility reveal a similar ranking with South America, other developing nations, southern European countries and France tending to have rather limited mobility although the Nordic countries exhibit strong mobility. Estimates of mobility based on social class point to rather different patterns, and we demonstrate that these differences are most likely generated by intergenerational earnings persistence within social classes. The second part of the paper looks for explanations for the differences in earnings and education persistence and finds that mobility is negatively correlated with inequality and the return to education but positively correlated with a nation's education spending.

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