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CEP discussion paper

Changes in intergenerational mobility in Britain


This paper compares and contrasts estimates of the extent of intergenerational income mobility over time in Britain. Estimates based on two British birth cohorts show that mobility appears to have fallen in a cross-cohort comparison of people who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s (the 1958 birth cohort) as compared to a cohort who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s (the 1970 birth cohort). The sensitivity of labour market earnings to parental income rises, thereby showing less intergenerational mobility for the more recent cohort. This supports theoretical notions that the widening wage and income distribution that occurred from the late 1970s onwards slowed down the extent of mobility up or down the distribution across generations.


Jo Blanden, Alissa Goodman, Paul Gregg and Stephen Machin

January 2002     Paper Number CEPDP0517

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