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Like grandmother, like granddaughter: Education doesn’t change
by Bridget Ansel | January 14, 2016 – http://equitablegrowth.org/
“A new working paper by Sarah Kroeger and Owen Thompson of the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, adds to this growing body of research and looks at the educational mobility of women across three generations—those born between the early 1910s and the early 1980s.”

Educational Mobility Across Three Generations of American Women

Sarah Kroeger  

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

Owen Thompson

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee; University of Massachusetts at Amherst – College of Social and Behavioral Sciences – Department of Economics

January 20, 2015


We analyze the intergenerational transmission of education in a three-generation sample of women from the US. The studied cohorts were born between the early 1910s and the early 1980s, a period of transformational increases in female educational attainment, making this an especially interesting context in which to study multigenerational inequality. We find strong three-generation educational persistence, with the association between the education of grandmothers and their granddaughters approximately two-times stronger than would be expected under the type of Markovian transmission process that has been assumed in much of the existing two-generation mobility literature. To better understand these findings we outline a simple theoretical transmission structure that is consistent with strong three-generation effects, assess various mechanisms through which grandparents may directly influence the education of their grandchildren, and investigate the extent to which core demographic processes such as differential fertility impact multigenerational educational persistence.

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