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Using Occupation to Measure Intergenerational Mobility

Bhashkar Mazumder () and Miguel Acosta ()

The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 2015, vol. 657, issue 1, 174-193

Abstract: Scholarly investigations of intergenerational mobility typically focus on either the occupations of fathers and sons or their incomes. Using an identical sample of fathers and sons, we examine how estimates of intergenerational mobility in income and occupational prestige are affected by (1) measurement that uses long time averages and (2) varying the point in the life cycle when outcomes are measured. We find that intergenerational occupational mobility is overstated when using a single year of fathers’ occupation compared to a 10-year average centered on mid-career. We also find that for both income and occupation, mobility estimates are largest when sons are in their mid-career, suggesting that this may be the ideal period in which to measure their status. Finally, we see differences in the pattern of estimates across the two types of measures: for income, estimates of intergenerational persistence are highest when fathers are in their mid-career; for occupation, estimates are much larger when fathers’ occupations are accounted for late in their careers.

Keywords: intergenerational mobility; social mobility; occupational mobility; income; occupation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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DOI: 10.1177/0002716214552056

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Handle: RePEc:sae:anname:v:657:y:2015:i:1:p:174-193