June 15, 2023: Michaela Slotwinski (University of Zürich)
On the Persistence of Intergenerational Persistence: The Role of Mobility Beliefs and Aspirations
Equal opportunity and a merit-based society are core liberal ideals. Policies to promote these ideals often aim to transform the landscape of opportunity. However, the ultimate success of such policies relies on individuals seizing these opportunities and their willingness and ambition to climb the social ladder. In this study, we investigate the role of social beliefs on intergenerational mobility in shaping mobility outcomes. In order to explore the role of mobility beliefs, we leverage data on second-generation immigrants who grew up in a common institutional framework but experienced varying levels of intergenerational mobility in their parents' host country. Using data from the United States and Europe, we show that lower intergenerational mobility in the parents’ host country is related to lower intergenerational mobility of the offspring. The diminished mobility of the offspring is primarily attributed to lower aspirations within households and poorer academic performance.