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The rise and fall of intergenerational earnings mobility in France over the last half century

Arnaud Lefranc
Université de Cergy-Pontoise, France

This paper analyzes long-term trends in intergenerational earnings mobility in France. I estimate intergenerational earnings elasticity for male cohorts born between 1933 and 1975, using two-sample instrumental variables techniques. Special attention is paid to potential biases that may arise when assessing trends in mobility from cohorts observed at different stages of their life-cycle. Over the period, intergenerational earnings mobility exhibits a U-shaped pattern. Mobility falls between cohorts born in the mid 1930’s and those born in the mid 1950’s, but subsequently rises. For cohorts born in the first half of the 1970’s, age-adjusted intergenerational earnings elasticity amount to around .55. This value is (statistically) significantly higher than the elasticity estimated for the baby boom cohorts. It is also slightly lower than this elasticity estimated for cohorts born in the 1930’s, although this time, the difference is not statistically significant.

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