The geography of family differences and intergenerational mobility
A recent series of studies by the Equality of Opportunity Project has documented substantial geographical differences in intergenerational income mobility. These spatial differences are important because they suggest that place matters more than previously thought in determining economic well-being. In this article, we show that family characteristics vary widely across areas and simulations indicate that differences in these family characteristics can explain a substantial share of the variation in intergenerational income mobility across places documented by the Equality of the Opportunity Project. Additionally, we show that the characteristics of families that move differ substantially from families that do not move and that family characteristics differ by the type of move made, which raise questions about the external and internal validity of causal inferences based on the Equality of Opportunity Project's analysis of movers.
Journal of Economic Geography
Gallagher, Ryan; Kaestner, Robert; and Persky, Joseph, "The geography of family differences and intergenerational mobility" (2019). Economics Faculty Publications. 25.