Trends in Intergenerational Earnings Mobility in the U.S.

Angela R. Fertig


This paper examines the trend in intergenerational earnings mobility by estimating ordinary least squares, quantile regression, and transition matrix coefficients using five cohorts from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. The results indicate that mobility in real earnings increased for sons with respect to fathers and remained constant for all other parent-child pairs. The findings from the father-son sample also suggest that the difference between the mobility levels of the rich and the poor narrowed over this period. These results suggest that a rise in equality of opportunity for sons accompanied the recent growth in inequality.