Many countries in Europe and other parts of the world are characterized by increasing income inequality and low, often stagnating levels of upward mobility. This often goes hand in hand with lower economic dynamism. This issue is controversially discussed in both politics and economics. In the context of the political systems of many countries increased education and upward mobility are called for in order to guarantee equality of opportunity for all residents. In academic research, on the other hand, the focus is on the question of whether more education contributes to economic success or whether economic success is accompanied by increased participation in education. Both mechanisms are conceivable, since education can be viewed as a good that is invested in disproportionately with increasing economic prosperity.

In a research network with international experts, the SEEK project examined the causes of low intergenerational mobility and its effect on economic development. The scientists researched the evolution of equality of opportunity in Germany, and the relationship between social mobility and economic development in ten selected countries in South America. The findings showed that higher social mobility promotes economic development. The SEEK project thus provides key results for political decision-makers about the effects of higher mobility on economic development: more equality of opportunity and upward mobility contribute to greater economic growth.

Selected Publications

Discussion and Working Papers

Ben Yahmed, Sarra, Lorenzo Cappellari, Daniele Checchi, Miles Corak, Stephen Jenkins, Guido Neidhöfer, Michèle Tertilt and Mariano Tommasi (2020), COVID-19 and Inequality, ZEW policy brief No. 20-05, Mannheim. Download

Brunori, Paolo and Guido Neidhöfer (2020), The Evolution of Inequality of Opportunity in Germany: A Machine Learning Approach, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 20-013, Mannheim. Download

Selected Events