In Progress

Firms and the Intergenerational Transmission of Labor Market Advantage (with Nathan Wilmers) | working paper

Read more Pay inequality stems both from firm pay-setting and from workers' individual characteristics. Yet, intergenerational mobility research focuses on transmission of individual traits, and has failed to test how firms shape the inheritance of inequality. We study this question using three decades of Swedish population register data, and decompose the intergenerational earnings correlation into firm pay premiums and worker effects. One quarter of the intergenerational earnings correlation at midlife is explained by sorting between firms with unequal pay. Employer or industry inheritance account for a small share of this firm-based earnings transmission. Instead, high-education and high-occupation workers disproportionately land at high-paying firms. Parental referral networks and the inheritance of industry and labor market context play a supplementary role. As workers with high-education or high-status jobs are increasingly also employed at high paying firms, firm sorting could become increasingly important to intergenerational earnings transmission.

How Robust are Country Rankings in Educational Mobility? (with Ely Strömberg) | working paper

Read more As robustness of social science is getting more attention, analytical choices have turned out to be more important than previously thought. In this paper, we investigate the robustness of intergenerational educational mobility estimates using multiverse analysis, a technique for incorporating many analyses into one framework while varying analytical choices such as variable coding, mobility measures, and exclusion criteria. Using European Social Survey (ESS) data from 16 European countries, results show substantial variation, both in point estimates and rank orderings among countries. Even so, the central tendency of country ranks accords well with previous literature. While any single ranking comes with considerable uncertainty, the field has nevertheless produced a relatively robust set of empirical findings.

The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in Europe (with Olivia Granström) | working paper

Read more How do opportunities for intergenerational mobility depend on the place where you live? We address this question using European Social Survey data, studying the association in occupational rank and social class between parents and children, and how it varies by region. Both ways of measuring occupational mobility produce similar results but there is a clear distinction between upward mobility, largely driven by structural change, and relative mobility which is thought to closer reflect (in)equality of opportunity. Capital regions are hubs of absolute upward, but not always relative, mobility. Absolute upward mobility is correlated with a range of human capital, labor market, demographic, and socio-spatial characteristics. By contrast, the only robust predictor of relative mobility is income differences between social classes. More inequality entails less mobility, and this relationship holds within countries.

A Caution on the Discordant Parenting Design (with Martin Hällsten) | working paper

Read more Recent studies use family fixed effects to estimate the influence of parental characteristics on children, a practice we call the “discordant parenting design”. This approach is valid only if treatment effects are equal within and between families. This assumption is mostly not informed by relevant theory and, we argue, unlikely to hold in practice. In addition, within-family confounding, reverse causality, and selection into identification complicate the interpretation of these studies further. We discuss three applied examples—the effects of parenting, family income, and neighborhood context—and provide some general guidance. To avoid misinterpretation, researchers should have a strong grasp of the variance that enters into estimation, and not just the potential confounders that a given strategy is designed to deal with.

Lasting Effects of Temporary School Closures (with Erik Liss) | draft on request

Read more During the recent pandemic, unanticipated school closures have led to short-run deficits in student learning around the world. Less is known about the long-run consequences of such learning deficits. We shed light on this question using a 1989 teacher strike that forced schools in 44 Swedish municipalities to close over a period of 4–5 weeks. We implement a difference-in-differences design, comparing treated and untreated municipalities using various matching and weighting estimators. In the short run, students experienced a reduction in Grade Point Averages (GPA) of about 2 percentile points (0.05 SD). This effect is driven by boys from disadvantaged homes, and persists up to 5 years after the strike. In the long run, exposed students experienced a 1.8% reduction in earnings, and this effect is larger in disadvantaged groups. Our results suggest that school closures can have lasting effects on human capital and intergenerational mobility, unless action is take to mitigate their harm.