American exceptionalism in a new light: a comparison of intergenerational earnings mobility in the Nordic countries, the United Kingdom and the United States
(), Bernt Bratsberg
(), Knut RÃ¸ed
(), OddbjÃ¸rn Raaum
(), Robin Naylor
(), Eva Ã–sterbacka
(), Anders BjÃ¸rklund
() and Tor Eriksson
Abstract: We develop methods and employ similar sample restrictions
to analyse differences in intergenerational earnings mobility across the
United States, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. We
examine earnings mobility among pairs of fathers and sons as well as
fathers and daughters using both mobility matrices and regression and
correlation coefficients. Our results suggest that all countries exhibit
substantial earnings persistence across generations, but with statistically
significant differences across countries. Mobility is lower in the U.S.
than in the U.K., where it is lower again compared to the Nordic countries.
Persistence is greatest in the tails of the distributions and tends to be
particularly high in the upper tails: though in the U.S. this is reversed
with a particularly high likelihood that sons of the poorest fathers will
remain in the lowest earnings quintile. This is a challenge to the popular
notion of â€™American exceptionalismâ€™. The U.S. also differs from the
Nordic countries in its very low likelihood that sons of the highest
earners will show downward â€™long-distanceâ€™ mobility into the lowest
earnings quintile. In this, the U.K. is more similar to the U.S..
Keywords: Intergenerational mobility; earnings inequality; long-run earnings; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: C23; J62; (follow links to similar papers)
44 pages, December 25, 2005
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