Parental Education and the Rising Transmission of Income between Generations
Intergenerational mobility has decreased over time for the cohorts of children born between the 1960s and the 1980s in Canada. At the same time, returns to education have gone up. Both factors have contributed to exacerbating income gaps between children of parents with and without secondary education. However, the transmission of residual parental income differences that cannot be accounted for by differences in educational attainment have increased at a faster rate than overall intergenerational income transmission. In addition, overall income mobility has shrunk less in communities that have experienced greater increases in parental high school completion rates over time. There is no significant relationship with changes in university education. Overall, these patterns suggest that fostering high school completion may help slow down the trend decline in intergenerational income mobility.
The authors would like to thank Phil Oreopoulos, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for their funding (grant 430-2018-01052), and the Social Analysis and Modelling Division at Statistics Canada, in particular Yuri Ostrovsky, Winnie Chan, and Grant Schellenberg, for making this work possible. All errors remain our own. The analysis presented in this paper was in part conducted at the Quebec Interuniversity Centre for Social Statistics which is part of the Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN). The services and activities provided by the QICSS are made possible by the financial or in-kind support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Statistics Canada, the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et culture (FRQSC), the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé (FRQS) and the Quebec universities. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors, and not necessarily those of the CRDCN or its partners. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.