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Regression Toward Mediocrity in Economic Stature

David J. Zimmerman
The American Economic Review
Vol. 82, No. 3 (Jun., 1992), pp. 409-429
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2117313
Page Count: 21
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Regression Toward Mediocrity in Economic Stature
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Abstract

This paper provides estimates of the correlation in lifetime earnings between fathers and sons. Intergenerational data from the National Longitudinal Survey are used. Earlier studies, conducted for the United States, report elasticities of children's earnings with respect to parent's earnings of 0.2 or less, suggesting extensive integenerational mobility. These estimates, however, are biased downward by error-contaminated measures of lifetime economic status. Estimates presented in this paper correct for the problem of measurement error and find the intergenerational correlation in income to be on the order of 0.4. This suggests considerably less intergenerational mobility than previously believed.

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