Date: 2012-01-25
Time: 13.30
Place: CHESS library, Sveaplan, 5th floor

The seminar is based on a study by Anders Björklund, Markus Jäntti and Martin Nybom; Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI), Stockholm University.

Previous research on intergenerational income mobility has shown stronger persistence between parental and offspring’s income in the UK than in Sweden. We use similar data sets for the two countries to explore whether these cross-national differences show up already early in life in indicators such as birth weight, grades at the end of compulsory school at age 16, height during adolescence, and final educational attainment. We do indeed find significant country differences in the association between parental income and these outcomes, and the associations are stronger in the UK than in Sweden. We also investigate whether these differentials are large enough to account for a substantial part of the difference in intergenerational persistence estimates. We then conclude that the country differences in the intergenerational associations in birth weight and height are not strong enough to account for hardly any fraction of the UK-Sweden difference in intergenerational income mobility. On the other hand, for grades and final education our results suggest that the country differences can account for a substantial part of the difference in income persistence.

Anders Björklund is Professor of Economics and Head of the Institute of Social Research (SOFI) at the Stockholm University. His main research interests are in labour and family economics: earnings and income inequality, economics of education, labour market performance and family background, labour-market and family policy.