The implications of selective attrition for estimates of intergenerational elasticity of family income

Robert F. Schoeni, Emily E. Wiemers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Numerous studies have estimated a high intergenerational correlation in economic status. Such studies do not typically attend to potential biases that may arise due to survey attrition. Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics – the data source most commonly used in prior studies – we demonstrate that attrition is particularly high for low-income adult children with low-income parents and particularly low for high-income adult children with high-income parents. Because of this pattern of attrition, intergenerational upward mobility has been overstated for low-income families and downward mobility has been understated for high-income families. The bias among low-income families is greater than the bias among high-income families implying that intergenerational elasticity in family income is higher than previous estimates with the Panel Study of Income Dynamics would suggest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-372
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Economic Inequality
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 30 2015

Keywords

  • Attrition
  • Family income
  • Intergenerational transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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