November 2005

IZA DP No. 1847: Intergenerational Economic Mobility and Assortative Mating

published in: Economic Journal, 2006, 116 (513), 659-679

We use data from the German Socio-Economic Panel and the British Household Panel Survey to estimate the extent of intergenerational economic mobility in a framework that highlights the role played by assortative mating. We find that assortative mating plays an important role. On average about 40-50% of the covariance between parents' and own permanent family income can be attributed to the person to whom one is married. This effect is driven by strong spouse correlations in human capital, which are larger in Germany than Britain.