Pablo Celhay
Sebastian Gallegos

This paper presents new evidence on educational mobility across three generations in six Latin American countries (LAC). Combining survey information with national census data we build a data set with 50,000 triads of grandparents-parent-children born between 1890 and 1990. We estimate a five mobility measures, to show that (i) the empirical multi-generational persistence is high in LAC; (ii) it is much larger than what Becker & Tomes (1986) theoretical model predicts, with a bias that is twice as large for LAC compared to developed countries; (iii) Clark’s theory (2014) of high and sticky persistence provides a better approximation for describing mobility across multiple generations in developing countries. We also uncover that while relative measures suggest stagnant mobility across generations, there are significant improvements according to non-linear measures suggested by Asher, Novosad & Rafkin (2022). This result is especially relevant for developing countries such as LAC, where historical educational expansions have especially benefited the lower end of the schooling distribution.

Publication Type
Working Paper
File Description
First version, June 13, 2023
JEL Codes
J62: Job, Occupational, and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
J12: Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure; Domestic Abuse
N36: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: Latin America, Caribbean
P36: Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions: Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training: Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty
I24: Education and Inequality
I28: Education: Government Policy
developing countries
Latin America
intergenerational mobility
educational policy
multiple generations
compulsory schooling