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Long-Term Intergenerational Persistence of Human Capital: An Empirical Analysis of Four Generations

Mikael Lindahl (), Mårten Palme (), Sofia Sandgren Massih and Anna Sjögren ()

Journal of Human Resources, 2015, vol. 50, issue 1, 1-33

Abstract: Most previous studies of intergenerational transmission of human capital are restricted to two generations: how parents influence their children. In this study, we use a Swedish data set that links individual measures of lifetime earnings for three generations and data on educational attainment for four generations. We find that estimates obtained from data on two generations severely underestimate long-run intergenerational persistence in both labor earnings and educational attainments. Long-run social mobility is hence much lower than previously thought. We attribute this additional persistence to “dynastic human capital”—the influence on human capital of more distant family members than parents.

Date: 2015
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Working Paper: Long-term intergenerational persistence of human capital: an empirical analysis of four generations (2013) Downloads
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