Kinship Correlations and Intergenerational Mobility

Research Seminare

We propose a new methodology to estimate long-run intergenerational socioeconomic mobility. Our approach does not require information across multiple generations, but considers different degrees of kinship within the same generation. This “horizontal” approach has two key advantages. First, socioeconomic status can be measured in the same data source and at the same time. Second, it yields many more kinship moments than a vertical approach. This allows us to consider a detailed intergenerational model with direct and latent transmission mechanisms; shared sibling influences and assortative mating in observable and unobservable characteristics; and gender asymmetries in all parameters. We fit that model using education and income from Swedish registry data and in Census data from Spain. We document strong persistence in intergenerational, sibling, and assortative processes. The degree of assortative matching is particularly striking – to rationalize our kinship data, spouses must be far more similar to each other than they are in observables such as education. A standard genetic model cannot fit the kinship pattern across sufficiently many kinship moments. Finally, we quantify a model allowing for both genetic and non-genetic latent transmission mechanisms. Genes explain about seven percent of the variation in educational attainment, with most of intergenerational and spousal similarity instead due to non-genetic factors.


ZEW – Leibniz-Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung


  • Ass. Prof. Jan Stuhler Ph.D.

    Ass. Prof. Jan Stuhler Ph.D. // Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), Spanien

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Leitung und Dean of Graduate Studies, Prof. Dr. Sebastian Siegloch
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ZEW – Leibniz-Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung


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