Absolute income mobility and the effect of parent generation inequality: An extended decomposition approach

PublicationArticle (with peer review)
Erik Liss, Karl Wennberg, Martin Korpi


We use full-population data to study trends in intergenerational absolute income mobility, measured as the ratio of children earning more than their parents, for 11 Swedish cohorts born 1972-1983. Absolute mobility during this period increases from 72% to 84% for men and from 76% to 86% for women-higher figures than in most other countries studied. To explain these results, we outline a novel decomposition strategy that accounts for cohort variation in parent-generation income inequality. All else equal, if income inequality is higher in the parent generation, more economic growth is required to achieve any given level of absolute mobility. We discuss implications for comparative research in intergenerational income mobility.

Liss, E., Korpi, M., & Wennberg, K. (2023). Absolute income mobility and the effect of parent generation inequality: An extended decomposition approach. European Economic Review, 152, 104359.

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