OECD SOCIAL, EMPLOYMENT AND MIGRATION WORKING PAPERS Intergenerational Transmission of Disadvantage: Mobility or Immobility across Generations? A Review of the Evidence for OECD Countries

  • Anna Cristina d’Addio, Anna Cristina d'Addio, +5 authors John Paul Martin
  • Published 2007

Abstract

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected labour market, social policy and migration studies prepared for use within the OECD. Authorship is usually collective, but principal writers are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language – English or French – with a summary in the other. The opinions expressed and arguments employed here are the responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD SUMMARY 1. This report surveys the research in OECD countries on intergenerational mobility – i.e. the extent to which key characteristics and life experiences of individuals differ from those of their parents. A number of findings emerge: • Intergenerational earnings mobility varies significantly across countries. It is higher in the Nordic countries, Canada and Australia but lower in Italy, the United States and the United Kingdom. The extent of intergenerational earnings mobility depends on individuals' and households' characteristics and varies over the income distribution (i.e. mobility is lower at both the top and the bottom of the distribution in many countries). Various studies also show that: (i) countries where both income inequality and rewards to education are higher, display lower intergenerational earnings mobility; and (ii) the degree of persistence of family income across generations is stronger than that of earnings. • Education is a major contributor to intergenerational income mobility and educational differences tend to persist across generations. The range of family characteristics that shape educational mobility across generations includes ethnic origin, the language spoken at home, family size and structure, and the socioeconomic and cultural background of the parents. Moreover, some of the crosscountry differences in the extent of intergenerational mobility of education are shaped by policies. For example, early streaming of students, based on their ability, seems to considerably reduce mobility across generations. • Evidence of intergenerational immobility extends to other outcomes. For example, occupations persist across generations and this persistence depends on factors such as education and also race or migrant status. Wealth also persists heavily across generations: as they are larger at the top of the income distribution, wealth transfers may deepen inequality. Welfare receipt is also transmitted across generations and this transmission appears to be influenced by specific aspects of programme design. Finally, personality traits also tend to persist across generations and affect both labour market outcomes and decisions about family formation: for example, children of divorced parents …

16 Figures and Tables

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{dAddio2007OECDSE, title={OECD SOCIAL, EMPLOYMENT AND MIGRATION WORKING PAPERS Intergenerational Transmission of Disadvantage: Mobility or Immobility across Generations? A Review of the Evidence for OECD Countries}, author={Anna Cristina d’Addio and Anna Cristina d'Addio and Peter Whiteford and Simon Chapple and Marco Mira d'Ercole and Martine Durand and Maxime Ladaique and John Paul Martin}, year={2007} }