Working Paper Series, UCD Centre for Economic Research 03/14
This paper analyses intergenerational educational mobility using survey data for twenty countries. We find that a number of interesting patterns emerge. Estimating a measure of mobility as movement and an index of mobility as equality of opportunity we find that while these two measures are positively correlated, the correlation is far from perfect. Examining the link with educational inequality we find evidence which suggests an inverse relationship between mobility and inequality consistent with egalitarian theory. The relationship between mobility appears to be weak, high returns to education do not depress mobility, as some human capital theories would suggest. Mobility appears to be somewhat higher for men whereas equality is much the same for both sexes. There is evidence that mobility as equality of opportunity has risen consistent with modernization theory. There is no evidence that expansion of third level education has led to a fall in the penalty associated with having a low educated parent. Estimates of marginal mobility are quite different from average mobility.