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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Jürges, Hendrik / Ludwig, Sandra

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Marital Sorting, Household Labor Supply, and Intergenerational Earnings Mobility across Countries

Oddbjørn Raaum1 / Bernt Bratsberg2 / Knut Røed3 / Eva Österbacka4 / Tor Eriksson5 / Markus Jäntti6 / Robin A Naylor7

1Frisch Centre,

2Frisch Centre,

3Frisch Centre,

4Åbo Akademi University,

5Aarhus University,

6Åbo Akademi University,

7University of Warwick,

Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy. Volume 7, Issue 2, ISSN (Online) 1935-1682, DOI: 10.2202/1935-1682.1767, January 2008

Publication History

Published Online:


We present comparable evidence on intergenerational earnings mobility for Denmark, Finland, Norway, the UK and the US, with a focus on the role of gender and marital status. We confirm that earnings mobility in the Nordic countries is typically greater than in the US and in the UK, but find that, in contrast to all other groups, for married women mobility is approximately uniform across countries when estimates are based on women's own earnings. Defining offspring outcomes in terms of family earnings, on the other hand, leads to estimates of intergenerational mobility in the Nordic countries which exceed those for the US and the UK for both men and women, single and married. Unlike in the Nordic countries, we find that married women with children and with husbands from affluent backgrounds tend to exhibit reduced labor supply in the US and the UK. In these countries, it is the combination of assortative mating and labor supply responses which weakens the association between married women's own earnings and their parents' earnings.

Keywords: intergenerational mobility; marital sorting

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