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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 16 No. 3 (Summer 2002)

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Cross-Country Differences in Intergenerational Earnings Mobility

Article Citation

Solon, Gary. 2002. "Cross-Country Differences in Intergenerational Earnings Mobility." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 16(3): 59-66.

DOI: 10.1257/089533002760278712

Abstract

International studies of the extent to which economic status is passed from one generation to the next are important for at least two reasons. First, each study of a particular country characterizes an important feature of that country's income inequality. Second, comparisons of intergenerational mobility across countries may yield valuable clues about how income status is transmitted across generations and why the strength of that intergenerational transmission varies across countries. The first section of this paper explains a benchmark measure of intergenerational mobility commonly used in U.S. studies. The second section summarizes comparable empirical findings that have accumulated so far for countries other than the United States. The third section sketches a theoretical framework for interpreting cross-country differences in intergenerational mobility.

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Solon, Gary

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