Working Paper 2012-261
We review the economic literature on the impacts of the several dimensions of education upon intergenerational inequality persistency. It is firstly outlined that the critical increase in the population education level in all countries has not come with lower inequality. The basic tools of education and intergenerational mobility modelling are subsequently exposed (OLG, education functions, education decision making etc.). The following two theoretical sections analyse the cases in which education leads (i) to human capital convergence in the long term and (ii) to social stratification with the emerging of under-education traps (situations in which certain dynasties remain continuously under-educated). A simple modelling of both cases is proposed for two types of educational decisions, one based on the family expenditure on education and the other on the time spent for education. The factors that generate social stratification and under education traps are especially underlined. The empirical literature on the determinants of educational attainment and intergenerational mobility is finally reviewed. This reveals the crucial impact of family backgrounds on educational attainment in all countries. It also demonstrates huge and lasting differences across countries in terms of intergenerational mobility.
Authors: Nathalie Chusseau, Joel Hellier.