Trends in the Intergenerational Elasticity of Family Income in the United States



This paper asks whether the degree to which our incomes resemble our parents’ incomes has changed over time. After comparing various methods of correcting for differences in the ages at which successive birth cohorts are observed, and correcting for sample attrition, I find no evidence of a linear trend in the intergenerational elasticity of family income for those born into the Panel Study of Income Dynamics between 1952 and 1975 and observed as adults between 1977 and 2000.