Three-Generational Associations in Socio-Economic Outcomes: New Evidence from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics

Fabian T. Pfeffer, University of Michigan

This contribution analyzes three-generational associations for a broad range of socio-economic outcomes, namely education, occupation, earnings, income, and wealth, based on nationally representative data for the United States. I apply two distinct but complementary perspectives on multigenerational associations: First, I document the degree of similarity in socio-economic standing among individuals of the third generation (G3) via cousin correlations. This “horizontal approach” captures the sum of all sources of three-generational factors involved in the socio-economic attainment of a current generation of adults. Second, to assess whether these multigenerational associations can be traced to the direct effects of selected socio-economic characteristics of grandparents (G1), I apply three-generational status attainment models. This “vertical approach” reveals the relative importance of measurable socio-economic characteristics of grandparents and parents. Finally, this paper begins to document sources of heterogeneity in multigenerational associations that may point towards the underlying social mechanisms.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 160: Multi-Generational Effects on Economic and Education Outcomes