NIDS Discussion Paper 2009/15

Title:  Intergenerational Mobility:  Analysis of the NIDS Wave 1 Dataset

Author(s):  Sarah Girdwood and Murray Leibbrandt

Date:  July 2009

 

Intergenerational mobility measures the degree to which an individual’s socio-economic status depends on his or her parents’ status. Mobility matters in countries, such as South Africa, with high inequality and poverty as the consequences of remaining stuck at the bottom are serious.

This report provides a very brief overview of the 2008 data from the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) for conducting intergenerational mobility research on education, occupation and income. It then goes on to undertake a preliminary analysis of intergenerational educational and occupational mobility as well as a cursory look at income mobility for co-residing parents and children.

Mobility analysis is technically the domain of panel data. However, intergenerational mobility is one of the chief themes in NIDS and special attention was given to this theme in the Wave 1 questionnaire. Even in the cross-section of NIDS Wave 1, it is possible to compare parents and their children in terms of their education and occupation status. Indeed, NIDS provides rich data for these topics. There are other dimensions to intergenerational mobility that are in NIDS but that we do not explore in this report. Examples include residential, consumption and health mobility.

This report is structured as follows. Section 2 focuses on intergenerational education mobility, first examining item non-response of parental education and then proceeding to a description of educational mobility results. Section 3 proceeds, in a similar manner, with intergenerational occupation mobility. These two sections are revisited in Section 4 where correlations are used to measure the degree of intergenerational mobility. Section 5 provides a cursory inspection of intergenerational income mobility of co-resident parents and children before Section 6 concludes.

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