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CEP discussion paper

Home ownership and social mobility

This paper extends the literature on social mobility to investigate intergenerational links in home ownership, an important marker of wealth. Repeated cross sectional data show that home ownership rates have fallen rapidly over time, and in particular amongst younger people in more recent birth cohorts. We then hone in on two British birth cohorts for whom we have information on parental home ownership. Comparing the intergenerational transmission of home ownership for individuals in the 1958 and 1970 British birth cohorts, we find that home ownership for 42 year olds from the 1970 birth cohorts (in 2012) shrunk disproportionately among those whose parents did not own their own home when they were children. Using housing measures in an intergenerational setting, and bearing in mind that housing is the most important component of wealth for most people, our results reinforce a picture of falling social mobility in Britain.

Jo Blanden and Stephen Machin

31 January 2017     Paper Number CEPDP1466

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This CEP discussion paper is published under the centre's Labour markets programme.