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date: 24 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article reviews current research on intergenerational mobility, which indicates opportunity for children to move beyond their social origins and obtain a status not dictated by that of their parents. Mobility tends to be measured by the extent of association between parents’ and adult children’s socioeconomic status (measured by social class, occupation, earnings, or family income). Stronger associations mean more intergenerational transmission of advantage (often referred to as persistence) and less mobility, whereas weaker associations indicate less persistence and more mobility. The article begins with a discussion of theoretical and methodological approaches to measuring intergenerational mobility. Drawing on research in economics and sociology, it then examines the evidence on the degree of mobility and persistence as well as possible underlying mechanisms. Finally, it compares mobility in wealthy and developing countries and suggests directions for future research.

Keywords: intergenerational mobility, parents, children, socioeconomic status, persistence, economics, sociology, developing countries, wealthy countries

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