NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Effect of Family Background on Economic Status: A Longitudinal Analysis of Sibling Correlations

Gary Solon, Mary Corcoran, Roger H. Gordon, Deborah Laren

NBER Working Paper No. 2282
Issued in June 1987
NBER Program(s):   LS

Numerous previous studies have used sibling correlations to measure the importance of family background as a determinant of economic status. These studies. however. have been biased by several flaws: failure to separate permanent from transitory status variation (including that from measurement error). failure to account for life-cycle stage. and overly homogeneous samples. This paper presents a methodology to address these problems and applies it to longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Our main conclusion is that family background appears to exert greater influence on economic status than has been indicated by earlier research.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w2282

Published: Journal of Human Resources, "A Longitudinal Analysis of Sibling Correlations in Economic Status", Volume XXVI, No. 3, pp. 509-534 Summer 1991

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