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Department of Economics, Lund University Working Papers, Department of Economics, Lund University

No 2011:18:
Ability Heterogeneity in Intergenerational Mobility

Martin Nordin () and Dan-Olof Rooth ()

Abstract: A rich data set gives a unique opportunity to study heterogeneity in intergenerational mobility. Here, we explore whether the intergenerational association in education and income is the same for children with different results in a cognitive ability test (the Swedish Military Enlistment test). Despite an endogenous test score, the argument is that this is the policy relevant case to analyze, i.e. whether children of a certain cognitive ability level are influences by their parentsí socioeconomic status and not whether they are influenced by some random parent. The intergenerational associations vary a great deal with the results in the cognitive ability test. The intergenerational association is highest for the middle ability groups and lower for both the higher ability and (particularly) the lower ability groups. The overall conclusion is that adding the cognitive ability dimension to studies of intergenerational mobility contributes new and important insights. For example, since the average child (cognitively speaking) seems to be most receptive to parental influence, intergenerational mobility is primarily increased by targeting the average child.

Keywords: Intergenerational associations; education; incomes; cognitive ability; interaction; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: J24; J62; (follow links to similar papers)

26 pages, May 23, 2011

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