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Intergenerational income mobility: Access to top jobs, the low-pay no-pay cycle, and the role of education in a common framework

Gregg, P; Macmillan, LA; Vittori, C; (2019) Intergenerational income mobility: Access to top jobs, the low-pay no-pay cycle, and the role of education in a common framework. Journal of Population Economics , 32 (2) pp. 501-528. 10.1007/s00148-018-0722-z. Green open access

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Abstract

Studies of intergenerational mobility have typically focused on estimating the average persistence across generations. Here, we use the relatively new unconditional quantile regression technique to consider how intergenerational persistence varies across the distribution of sons’ earnings. We find a J-shaped relationship between parental income and sons’ earnings, with parental income a strong predictor of labour market success for those at the bottom, and to an even greater extent, the top of the earnings distribution. We explore the role of early skills, education and early labour market attachment in shaping this pattern for the first time. Worryingly, we find that the association with childhood parental income dominating that of a high level of education at the top of the distribution of earnings. In this sense education is not as meritocratic as we might hope, as those with the same detailed educational attainment do not achieve equal access to top jobs. Early labour market spells out of work have lasting effects on those at the bottom, alongside parental income.

Type: Article
Title: Intergenerational income mobility: Access to top jobs, the low-pay no-pay cycle, and the role of education in a common framework
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s00148-018-0722-z
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00148-018-0722-z
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2018. Open Access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Keywords: Intergenerational mobility, children, education, nonlinear estimation, quantile regression
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Learning and Leadership
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Learning and Leadership > Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10059376
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