Parental Education Mitigates the Rising Transmission of Income between Generations

Marie Connolly, Catherine Haeck, and Jean-William P. Lalibert:

This article provides evidence on the causal relationship between maternal education and the intergenerational transmission of income. Using a novel linkage between intergenerational income tax data and Census data for individuals born between 1963 and 1985 and their par- ents, we show that rank mobility has decreased over time, and that this decline was sharpest for children of mothers without a high school diploma. Using variation in compulsory school- ing laws, we show that rank mobility increases as the percentage of mothers with a high school diploma increases. We find weaker evidence that mobility increases with the percentage of mothers with a university degree.