Majed Dodin, Sebastian Findeisen, Lukas Henkel, Dominik Sachs, Paul Schüle, 24 December 2021

According to the OECD, social mobility in Germany is lower than in most other developed economies, reigniting a debate on equality of opportunity and shortcomings of the education system. This column discusses how census data can be used to obtain high quality mobility statistics for Germany. Using the Abitur educational qualification as a measure of opportunity, it suggests that relative mobility has remained constant for recent birth cohorts but points to substantial geographic variation in mobility measures across regions in the country.

Laurence Boone, Antoine Goujard, 04 March 2019

The ‘yellow vest’ demonstrations in France appear, at least in part, to be another example of the anti-globalisation sentiment that has emerged in a number of OECD countries. This column argues that the movement is also rooted in the country’s broken social elevator. Redistribution through taxes and social transfers is not sufficient to curb the inequality in opportunity, which is mostly linked to the educational system and perpetuates economic and social situations from one generation to the next.

Juan C. Palomino, Gustavo A. Marrero, Juan Gabriel Rodríguez, 03 January 2019

The American Dream is grounded in the US being the land of opportunities, but real opportunity requires mobility across generations. This column examines the influence of parents’ income on the income of their children in the US for the period 1980-2010. Parental income has a greater influence, implying lower levels of mobility, for families with the highest and lowest levels of income. Education also plays a stronger role in economic persistence at both tails of the income distribution, while race affects mobility in the middle and lower parts of the distribution. 

Andrea Garnero, Alexander Hijzen, Sébastien Martin, 21 March 2016

Some economists argue that income inequality suggests intra-generational mobility in society. This column provides comprehensive evidence across a large number of advanced economies on the importance of intra-generational mobility and its relationship with earnings inequality. The findings do not support the belief that higher earnings inequality necessarily goes hand-in-hand with greater mobility over the working life. Higher inequalities are not systematically compensated by higher mobility opportunities.

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