Leaders: Raj Chetty, Gary Solon, Florencia Torche
The purpose of the Social Mobility RG is to develop and exploit new administrative sources for measuring mobility and the effects of policy on mobility out of poverty. This research group is doing so by (a) providing comprehensive analyses of intergenerational mobility based on linked administrative data from U.S. tax returns, W-2s, and other sources, and (b) developing a new infrastructure for monitoring social mobility, dubbed the American Opportunity Study, that is based on linking census and other administrative data. Here’s a sampling of projects:
Small place estimates: The Equal Opportunity Project, led by Raj Chetty, uses tax return data to monitor opportunities for mobility out of poverty. In one of the new lines of analysis coming out of this project, the first round of results at the level of “commuting zones” are being redone at a more detailed level (e.g., census block level), thus allowing for even better inferences about the effects of place.
The American Opportunity Study: This research group is also collaborating with the Census Bureau to develop a new infrastructure for monitoring mobility that treats linked decennial census data as the spine on which other administrative data are hung.
Colleges and rising income inequality: Where do poor children go to attend college? The “Mobility Report Card” will convey the joint distribution of parent and student incomes for every Title IV institution in the United States.
The “absolute mobility” of the poor: What fraction of poor children grow up to earn more than their parents? Have rates of absolute upward mobility changed over time? This project develops a new method of estimating rates of absolute mobility for the 1940-1984 birth cohorts.
Intergenerational elasticities in the U.S.: There remains some debate about the size of intergenerational elasticities in the U.S. A rarely-used sample of 1987 tax data provides new evidence on U.S. elasticities.
Mobility - CPI Research
|The Effects of Exposure to Better Neighborhoods on Children: New Evidence from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment||Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, Lawrence F. Katz||
The Effects of Exposure to Better Neighborhoods on Children: New Evidence from the Moving to Opportunity ExperimentAuthor: Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, Lawrence F. Katz
The Moving to Opportunity (MTO) experiment offered randomly selected families living in high-poverty housing projects housing vouchers to move to lower-poverty neighborhoods. We present new evidence on the impacts of MTO on children's long-term outcomes using administrative data from tax returns. We find that moving to a lower-poverty neighborhood signicantly improves college attendance rates and earnings for children who were young (below age 13) when their families moved. These children also live in better neighborhoods themselves as adults and are less likely to become single parents. The treatment effects are substantial: children whose families take up an experimental voucher to move to a lower-poverty area when they are less than 13 years old have an annual income that is $3,477 (31%) higher on average relative to a mean of $11,270 in the control group in their mid-twenties. In contrast, the same moves have, if anything, negative long-term impacts on children who are more than 13 years old when their families move, perhaps because of the disruption effects of moving to a very dierent environment. The gains from moving fall with the age when children move, consistent with recent evidence that the duration of exposure to a better environment during childhood is a key determinant of an individual's long-term outcomes. The findings imply that offering vouchers to move to lower-poverty neighborhoods to families with young children who are living in high-poverty housing projects may reduce the intergenerational persistence of poverty and ultimately generate positive returns for taxpayers.
|Economic Mobility in the United States||Pablo A. Mitnik||
Economic Mobility in the United StatesAuthor: Pablo A. Mitnik
Publisher: The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Russell Sage Foundation
Given the substantial body of research on economic mobility, one might imagine that little remains unknown. This is not the case. Although it is well established that a person’s income is related to that of his or her
1. Approximately half of parental income advantages are passed on to children. The intergenerational elasticity (IGE), when averaged across all levels of parental income, is estimated at 0.52 for men and 0.47 for women. These estimates are at the high end of previous estimates and imply that the United States is very immobile.
2. The persistence of advantage is especially large among those raised in the middle to upper reaches of the income distribution. The IGE among adults whose parents were between the 50th and 90th income percentiles is 0.68 for men and 0.63 for women. This means that approximately two-thirds of parental income differences within this region of the income distribution persist into the next generation.
3. Children born far apart in the income distribution have very different economic outcomes. The expected family income of children raised in families at the 90th income percentile is about three times that of children raised at the 10th percentile.
4. Parental income matters more for men’s earnings than for women’s. The average earnings IGE for men (0.56) is more than 40 percent higher than that for women (0.32). Although both men and women benefit from being born into higher-income families, men benefit much more—at least when it comes to their own earnings.
5. Parental income matters more for women’s chances of marriage, and of marrying better-off partners. The income IGE is large for men (0.52) mainly because children from higher-income families tend to have higher earnings as adults. For women, the income IGE is nearly as large (0.47), mainly because those from higher income origins are more likely to be married in their late 30s—and to marry higher-earnings partners.
These results show that children born into lower-income families can expect very different futures relative to those from higher-income families. Given the country’s commitment to equality of opportunity, the findings may suggest the need for policies that increase economic mobility. Because a wide range of institutions affect mobility, including the family, schools, labor markets, and the tax system, many entry points are possible for developing such policies. Although the findings of this report can inform public policy, they do not lead to particular policy prescriptions or indicate which of these many possible intervention points should be given priority.
|Promoting Social and Economic Mobility in Washington, DC||Gregory Acs, Lauren Eyster, Jonathan Schwabish||
Promoting Social and Economic Mobility in Washington, DCAuthor: Gregory Acs, Lauren Eyster, Jonathan Schwabish
Publisher: The Urban Institute
As Mayor Bowser settles into her office, she leads a city that is growing more prosperous. Yet too many DC residents are not sharing in that prosperity. Since the last recession began in 2007, median income in DC has grown by three times the national average, reaching nearly $61,000 in 2013. Yet DC’s unemployment rate persistently remains about 1 percentage point higher than in the nation as a whole. Removing barriers to mobility and creating meaningful opportunities for all DC residents to prosper require various strategies. DC’s new mayor should adopt strategies and policies that can help city residents who struggle the most with becoming and staying connected to the labor market.
|What Do We Know So Far about Multigenerational Mobility?||Gary Solon||
What Do We Know So Far about Multigenerational Mobility?Author: Gary Solon
“Multigenerational mobility” refers to the associations in socioeconomic status across three or more generations. This article begins by summarizing the longstanding but recently growing empirical literature on multigenerational mobility. It then discusses multiple theoretical interpretations of the empirical patterns, including the one recently proposed in Gregory Clark’s book The Son Also Rises.
|It's Not Like I'm Poor: How Working Families Make Ends Meet in a Post-Welfare World||Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Kathryn Edin, Laura Tach, Jennifer Sykes||
It's Not Like I'm Poor: How Working Families Make Ends Meet in a Post-Welfare WorldAuthor: Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Kathryn Edin, Laura Tach, Jennifer Sykes
Publisher: University of California Press
The world of welfare has changed radically. As the poor trade welfare checks for low-wage jobs, their low earnings qualify them for a hefty check come tax time—a combination of the earned income tax credit and other refunds. For many working parents this one check is like hitting the lottery, offering several months’ wages as well as the hope of investing in a better future. Drawing on interviews with 115 families, the authors look at how parents plan to use this annual cash windfall to build up savings, go back to school, and send their kids to college. However, these dreams of upward mobility are often dashed by the difficulty of trying to get by on meager wages. In accessible and engaging prose, It’s Not Like I’m Poor examines the costs and benefits of the new work-based safety net, suggesting ways to augment its strengths so that more of the working poor can realize the promise of a middle-class life.
Mobility - CPI Affiliates
|Dennis Hogan||Robert E. Turner Distinguished Professor of Population Studies Emeritus||Brown University|
|Donald J. Treiman||Distinguished Professor||University of California , Los Angeles|
|Fiona Devine||Professor of Sociology||The University of Manchester|
|Hans-Peter Blossfeld||Professor||Bamberg University|
|Harry B. G. Gan...||Professor of Sociology and Social Research Methodology||Free University Amsterdam|
Mobility - Other Research
|Positional Externalities Cause Large and Preventable Welfare Losses||Frank, Robert H.||
Positional Externalities Cause Large and Preventable Welfare LossesAuthor: Frank, Robert H.
Publisher: American Economic Review
|Social Mobility in Europe||Richard Breen||
Social Mobility in EuropeAuthor: Richard Breen
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Social Mobility in Europe is the most comprehensive study to date of trends in intergenerational social mobility. It uses data from 11 European countries covering the last 30 years of the twentieth century to analyze differences between countries and changes through time. The findings call into question several long-standing views about social mobility. We find a growing similarity between countries in their class structures and rates of absolute mobility: in other words, the countries of Europe are now more alike in their flows between class origins and destinationsthan they were thirty years ago. However, differences between countries in social fluidity (that is, the relative chances, between people of different class origins, of being found in given class destinations) show no reduction and so there is no evidence supporting theories of modernization whichpredict such convergence. Our results also contradict the long-standing Featherman Jones Hauser hypothesis of a basic similarity in social fluidity in all industrial societies 'with a market economy and a nuclear family system'. There are considerable differences between countries like Israel andSweden, where societal openness is very marked, and Italy, France, and Germany, where social fluidity rates are low. Similarly, there is a substantial difference between, for example, the Netherlands in the 1970s (which was quite closed) and in the 1990s, when it ranks among the most open societies. Mobility tables reflect many underlying processes and this makes it difficult to explain mobility and fluidity or to provide policy prescriptions. Nevertheless, those countries in which fluidity increased over the last decadesof the twentieth century had not only succeeded in reducing classinequalities in educational attainment but had also restricted the degree to which, among people with the same level of education, class background affected their chances of gaining access to better class destinations.
|Urban Poverty and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from a Randomized Housing-Mobility Experiment||Jens Ludwig, Greg J. Duncan and Paul Hirschfield||
Urban Poverty and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from a Randomized Housing-Mobility ExperimentAuthor: Jens Ludwig, Greg J. Duncan and Paul Hirschfield
Publisher: Quarterly Journal of Economics
|Skill-Biased Technological Change and Wage Inequality: Evidence from a Plant Retooling||Roberto M. Fernandez||
Skill-Biased Technological Change and Wage Inequality: Evidence from a Plant RetoolingAuthor: Roberto M. Fernandez
Publisher: American Journal of Sociology
|The Transition to Home Ownership and the Black-White Wealth Gap||Charles, Kerwin Kofi, Erik Hurst||
The Transition to Home Ownership and the Black-White Wealth GapAuthor: Charles, Kerwin Kofi, Erik Hurst
Mobility - Multimedia
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