Nature and Nurture in the Intergenerational Transmission of Socioeconomic Status: Evidence from Swedish Children and Their Biological and Rearing Parents

Anders Björklund, Swedish Institute for Social Research
Markus Jantti, Åbo Akademi University
Gary M. Solon, University of Michigan

This study uses an extraordinary Swedish data set to explore the sources of the intergenerational transmission of socioeconomic status. Merging data from administrative sources and censuses, we investigate the association between sons’ and daughters’ socioeconomic outcomes and those of their biological and rearing parents. Our analysis focuses on children raised in different family circumstances: raised by both biological parents, raised by the biological mother/father without a stepfather/stepmother, raised by the biological mother/father with a stepfather/stepmother, and raised by two adoptive parents. The most remarkable feature of our data set is that it contains information on the biological parents even when they are not the rearing parents. We specify a simple additive model of pre-birth (including genetic) and post-birth influences and examine the model’s ability to provide a unified account of the intergenerational associations in all six family types. Our results suggest substantial roles for both pre-birth and post-birth factors.

  See paper

Presented in Session 38: Economic Factors and Child Development I