Title: Like (grand)parent, like child? Multigenerational mobility across the EU
Citation: EUROPEAN ECONOMIC REVIEW vol. 130 p. 103600
Publication Year: 2020
JRC N°: JRC122649
ISSN: 0014-2921 (online)
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014292120302300
DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2020.103600
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: This study shows that the multigenerational transmission of inequality in most of the 28 EU countries is higher than what a parent-to-child paradigm would suggest. While a strand of the literature claims that this is due to a direct grandparental effect, economic historian Gregory Clark argues that multigenerational mobility follows a Markovian process. In his view, not only are previous estimates (severely) attenuated by an errors-in-variables problem, but persistence is also constant across time and space. Using a unique retrospective survey containing information on three generations of European citizens, we provide suggestive evidence against such a “universal law of mobility”. While estimates based on measurement error models show that persistence is indeed as strong as Clark suggests, there are cross-country differences. Furthermore, for a few EU countries, we cannot reject the hypothesis of a direct grandparental effect. Overall, there is no single data-generating process to describe multigenerational persistence that fits all EU countries.
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