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Intergenerational Mobility in Britain

By Lorraine Dearden and Stephen Machin


We use longitudinal data on children and their parents to assess the extent of intergenerational mobility in Britain. Based on data from the National Child Development Survey, a cohort of all individuals born in a week of March 1958, we find that the extent of intergenerational mobility is limited. We report a clear intergenerational correlation between fathers and both sons and daughters in terms of labour market earnings and years of schooling. We also reveal an important asymmetry in intergenerational earnings mobility, with upward mobility from the bottom of the earnings distribution being more likely than downward mobility from the top. This paper analyses the extent of intergenerational mobility in Britain. Broadly put, the issue on which we focus is: to what extent is there a correlation between a parent’s position in the earnings distribution and that of his or her children? Examination of this issue is important for social scientists and for policymakers. It has been well documented that, in Britain, wage and income inequality have rapidly increased since the late 1970s. � Hence, a proper understanding of what shapes the distribution of earnings and income is important given the widening gap between rich and poor. One element of this is the extent to which a

Year: 1997
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