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Michigan's graduate sociology program tied for 4th with Stanford in USN&WR rankings

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Susan Murphy named Distinguished University Professor

Sarah Burgard and former PSC trainee Jennifer Ailshire win ASA award for paper

Next Brown Bag

Monday, Sep 15
Dustin Brown (Michigan), Spousal Education, Adult Mortality Risk in USA

The Correlation of Wealth across Generations

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Charles, Kerwin, and Erik Hurst. 2003. "The Correlation of Wealth across Generations." Journal of Political Economy, 111(6): 1155-1182.

In this paper, we find that the age-adjusted elasticity of child wealth with respect to parental wealth is 0.37 before the transfer of bequests. Lifetime income and asset ownership jointly explain nearly two-thirds of the wealth elasticity. Education, past parental transfers, and expected future bequests account for little of the remaining elasticity. Survey measures of risk correlate strongly between parents and children. However, they explain little of the intergenerational similarity in the propensity to own different assets, suggesting that children's savings propensities are determined by mimicking their parents' behavior, or the inheritance of preferences not related to risk tolerance. Our results imply that while parents do pass on human capital and saving propensities to their children, the level of intergenerational fluidity is much greater than that suggested by recent accounts in the popular press.

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