Conference: Intergenerational Mobility Within and Across Nations

Project Date:
Nov 2009
Award Amount:
Project Programs:
Social, Political, and Economic Inequality

Supplemental Award: $1,300, June 2009

Timothy Smeeding, Director of the Institute for Research on Poverty at University of Wisconsin-Madison, will convene a conference from September 20-22, 2009 at UWM on “Intergenerational Mobility (IGM) Within and Across Nations.” This conference will explore how mobility rates differ across countries, possibly due to differences in social structure, levels of inequality, and poverty. The conference will include papers that focus on specific aspects of intergenerational mobility, including income, education, wealth, and occupation. Most papers will include a cross-national comparative analysis of at least two countries, examining factors that enhance or impede mobility.  

Robert Erikson of Columbia University, Markus Jäntti of Åbo Akademi University, Finland, and Smeeding will introduce the conference by discussing the social and economic institutions which may affect mobility in each nation or set of nations and will discuss the volume’s primary goal:  to uncover what amplifies or impedes intergenerational mobility. Jo Blanden, University of Surrey, United Kingdom; Robert Haveman, University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Smeeding will use data sets for the United Kingdom and United States to estimate how mobility is transmitted in each country. Greg Duncan, University of California, Irvine; Ariel Kalil, University of Chicago; Kathleen Ziol-Guest, The Institute for Children and Poverty; and Kjetil Telle, Statistics Norway, will discuss the impacts of family income on children’s future adult earnings, with a special focus on the impact of child poverty on later social and economic outcomes.  Jane Waldfogel, Columbia University, and Elizabeth Washbrook, University of Bristol, will study the income-related gaps in school readiness among nationally representative groups of children from the United States and the United Kingdom. John Micklewright, University of Southampton, will explore the association between parental socioeconomic status (SES) and children’s achievement, separating the SES of the mother and the father, as well as the sex of the child. Fabian Pfeffer, University of Wisconsin-Madison, will write a paper examining how family wealth, or net worth, creates unequal opportunities for children in different socioeconomic levels. David Grusky, Stanford University; Janne Jonsson, Stockholm University; Reinhard Pollak, Social Science Center, Berlin, Germany; and Matthew Di Carlo, Cornell University, will incorporate their previous research into a cohesive comparative paper, involving both inter- and intra-generational occupational mobility in four countries (United States, Sweden, Germany, and Japan) and how this affects mobility between parents and children. The final paper by Brian Nolan, University College, Dublin, Ireland, and Gøsta Esping-Andersen, University of Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain, will discuss how increases and decreases in financial “safety nets” (wage minimums, mandatory pension plans) and tax cushions affect intergenerational mobility and stability.  

Conference arrangements for paper authors and discussants will be financed jointly by the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin, The Swedish Institute for Social Research (Stockholm University), the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Russell Sage Foundation.


RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.


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