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Ratio Working Paper No. 325: The American Dream Lives in Sweden: Trends in intergenerational absolute income mobility

PublicationWorking paper
Absolute mobility, Erik Liss, income decomposition, intergenerational income mobility, Karl Wennberg, Martin Korpi, social mobility
Working Paper no. 325
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Abstract

Despite a sizeable literature on relative income mobility across generations, there is a dearth of studies of absolute mobility across generations, i.e. whether current generations earn more or less than their parents did at the same age, as well as how to explain the level of absolute mobility. We use individual micro data to study the trend in intergenerational absolute income mobility measured as the share of sons and daughters earning more than their fathers and mothers, respectively, for eleven Swedish birth cohorts between 1970 and 1980. We find that absolute mobility in Sweden significantly exceeds that of the United States and is largely on par with Canada. The rate of absolute mobility for women exceeds that of men throughout the study period, however the trend has been stronger for men. Using an augmented decomposition model which supplements standard models by accounting for differences in the income distribution of every birth cohort’s parent generation, we find that heterogeneity in the parent income distribution strongly determines how much economic growth contributes to absolute mobility across birth cohorts. If income inequality is high in the parent generation, more growth is required if children that move downward in the relative income distribution are to earn more than their parents.

Liss, E., Korpi, M. & Wennberg, K. (2019). The American Dream Lives in Sweden: Trends in Intergenerational Absolute Income Mobility. Working Paper no. 325. Stockholm: Ratio.

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Ratio Working Paper No. 325: The American Dream Lives in Sweden: Trends in intergenerational absolute income mobility
Working paperPublication
Liss, E., Korpi, M. & Wennberg, K.
Publication year

2019

Published in

Ratio Working Paper

Abstract

Despite a sizeable literature on relative income mobility across generations, there is a dearth of studies of absolute mobility across generations, i.e. whether current generations earn more or less than their parents did at the same age, as well as how to explain the level of absolute mobility. We use individual micro data to study the trend in intergenerational absolute income mobility measured as the share of sons and daughters earning more than their fathers and mothers, respectively, for eleven Swedish birth cohorts between 1970 and 1980. We find that absolute mobility in Sweden significantly exceeds that of the United States and is largely on par with Canada. The rate of absolute mobility for women exceeds that of men throughout the study period, however the trend has been stronger for men. Using an augmented decomposition model which supplements standard models by accounting for differences in the income distribution of every birth cohort’s parent generation, we find that heterogeneity in the parent income distribution strongly determines how much economic growth contributes to absolute mobility across birth cohorts. If income inequality is high in the parent generation, more growth is required if children that move downward in the relative income distribution are to earn more than their parents.

Ratio Working Paper No. 325: The American Dream Lives in Sweden: Trends in intergenerational absolute income mobility
Working paperPublication
Liss, E., Korpi, M. & Wennberg, K.
Publication year

2019

Published in

Ratio Working Paper

Abstract

Despite a sizeable literature on relative income mobility across generations, there is a dearth of studies of absolute mobility across generations, i.e. whether current generations earn more or less than their parents did at the same age, as well as how to explain the level of absolute mobility. We use individual micro data to study the trend in intergenerational absolute income mobility measured as the share of sons and daughters earning more than their fathers and mothers, respectively, for eleven Swedish birth cohorts between 1970 and 1980. We find that absolute mobility in Sweden significantly exceeds that of the United States and is largely on par with Canada. The rate of absolute mobility for women exceeds that of men throughout the study period, however the trend has been stronger for men. Using an augmented decomposition model which supplements standard models by accounting for differences in the income distribution of every birth cohort’s parent generation, we find that heterogeneity in the parent income distribution strongly determines how much economic growth contributes to absolute mobility across birth cohorts. If income inequality is high in the parent generation, more growth is required if children that move downward in the relative income distribution are to earn more than their parents.

Ratio Working Paper No. 349: Industrial conflict in essential services in a new era – Swedish rules in a comparative perspective
Working paperPublication
Karlson, N.
Publication year

2021

Published in

Ratio Working Paper

Abstract

This paper examines whether the Swedish regulatory system of dealing with industrial conflicts that affect essential services need an update or reform. Are the existing rules effective in a world where many essential services are upheld by many interdependent agents in complex systems where every single node becomes critical for the functioning of the system, and where the essential service activities could be either private or public? A comparative study is conducted with the corresponding regulatory systems of the United Kingdom, Germany, and Denmark.
The conclusion is that Sweden is a special case. The Swedish protection against and readiness in dealing with societally harmful industrial conflicts in essential services is weaker than in the countries of comparison. Just as in relation to other threats to essential services, it is not sustainable to claim that just because such a threat is not currently present, there would be no need for preparedness.
There are many alternative ways to handle this. Desirable methods should both prevent harmful conflicts from erupting and end conflicts that have grown harmful to society at a later stage. The labour market organisations should have a mutual interest in reforming the rules.

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