Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Childhood, Schooling and Income Inequality

Cavapozzi, Danilo and Garrouste, Christelle and Paccagnella, Omar (2010): Childhood, Schooling and Income Inequality. Published in: MEA Discussion Papers No. 212 (December 2010): pp. 1-15.


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Parental or socioeconomic background plays an important role in determining employment outcomes during the individual whole life-cycle. The extent to which individuals move (up or down) the social ladder relative to one¿s parents is known as inter-generational social mobility. In a relatively immobile society individual outcomes, such as education, occupation or incomes, tend to be strongly related to those of their parents. On the one hand, in less mobile societies human skills may be wasted or mis-allocated. On the other hand, the motivations, the effort, the individual productivity may be affected by the lack of equal economic opportunities. These in turn may affect the overall efficiency and growth potential of a country. The influence of parental socio-economic status on the descendants¿ education, incomes and occupation has been widely investigated in the literature (Solon, 2002; Corak, 2004; OECD, 2010). Even though no single indicator can summarize a so puzzling picture, a general pattern that emerges is that a group of countries (namely, Mediterranean countries) shows a low inter-generational social mobility, while another group of countries (for instance, Nordic countries) tends to be relatively mobile. In this contribution we exploit the richness of SHARELIFE information on household economic resources and social background of respondents at the age of 10 to investigate the relationship between their educational attainments, their labour market outcomes and the social environment where they grew up.

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