How Socially Mobile are Conference Attendees?

At my intergenerational mobility conference last week, I asked all attendees:

  • What percentile in the income distribution does your household now occupy? (1=lowest,50=middle, 100=highest)
  • What percentile in the income distribution did your household occupy when you were aged 14?

In a nice coincidence, the intergenerational earnings correlation is 0.29, which is quite similar to the intergenerational elasticity that I estimate for the full Australian population (0.2-0.3). Here’s the data:


To see photos from the conference, click on the image below.

The Economics of Intergenerational Mobility

2 thoughts on “How Socially Mobile are Conference Attendees?”

    Interesting chart however its completely missing anyone with a low income now.  I suspect with a more complete sample there may be a large sub 25% cluster of non-mobility.  Of course I could be entirely wrong (it wouldn’t be the first time).  However the majority of the data points are above the one to one line (intercept is more than 50).
    What happens if you remove the three data points from low income backgrounds?  They would tend to cause the trend to flatten a lot.
    The third dimension to investigate is age.


  2. Just a quick method question:
    – do you provide people with the income distributions, or are you instead asking people to estimate their positions at the two points in time?
    Personally, I’m not sure I could accurately estimate either, and thus my position on your graph would be dubious at best.
    Also, how do you reconcile differences in household incomes that reflect dual vs single income from generation to generation (and also who is responsible for the shift)?


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