Socioeconomic Persistence Across Generations: Cognitive and Noncognitive Processes
Publication year: 2012
This chapter analyses the role of cognitive ability, personality traits, and physical characteristics in transmission of socioeconomic status – measured as the intergenerational correlation between father’s and sons’ income and educational attainment, respectively. We find that the intergenerational educational correlation is mostly mediated by cognitive ability, while personality traits and physical characteristics are of little importance. The income correlation is mediated by cognitive ability too, but also by personality traits – and our analyses suggest that characteristics such as social maturity, emotional stability, and leadership capacity gain their importance directly in the labour market rather than through schooling. An interesting finding is that father’s income has a persistent and non-negligible effect on sons’ income despite very extensive controls for other parental characteristics (such as education, social class and occupation) and for other important mediators.