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Intergenerational Mobility in Australia
The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy (2009)
  • Andrew Leigh, Australian National University

Combining four surveys conducted over a forty year period, I calculate intergenerational earnings elasticities for Australia, using predicted earnings in parents' occupations as a proxy for actual parental earnings. In the most recent survey, the elasticity of sons' wages with respect to fathers' wages is around 0.2. Comparing this estimate with earlier surveys, I find little evidence that intergenerational mobility in Australia has significantly risen or fallen over time. Applying the same methodology to United States data, I find that Australian society exhibits more intergenerational mobility than the United States. My method appears to slightly overstate the degree of intergenerational mobility; if the true intergenerational earnings elasticity in the United States is 0.4–0.6 (as recent studies have suggested), then the intergenerational earnings elasticity in Australia is probably around 0.2–0.3.

  • social mobility,
  • imputed earnings,
  • Australia,
  • United States
Publication Date
February 13, 2009
Citation Information
Andrew Leigh. "Intergenerational Mobility in Australia" The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy Vol. 7 Iss. 2 (2009)
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