Mobility for All: Representative Intergenerational Mobility Estimates over the 20th Century

Nov 16, 2021, 12:00 pm1:00 pm
300 Wallace Hall & Zoom
University-affiliated faculty, students, staff and visitors
Event Description


We present what is to the best of our knowledge the first long-run estimates of intergenerational relative mobility for samples that are representative of the full U.S.- born population. We develop a simple mobility measure that allows easy inclusion of non-whites and women for the 1910s to 1970s birth cohorts. We show a robust decline in both the intergenerational-elasticity and rank-rank persistence measures between the 1910s and 1940s birth cohorts. Both measures tend to drift up afterwards, so we find that persistence measures mirror the u-shaped trends in inequality over this period. Decomposing the IGE into within- and between-group components, we show that absolute convergence of incomes by race explain a large share of the decline in intergenerational mobility.