Essays on Intergenerational Mobility and Economic Growth

Joseph Anthony Mauro, Fordham University


The focus of this dissertation is to explore the relationship between intergenerational mobility and economic growth. In the existing literature, there are several shortcomings. First, while there is solid theoretical evidence laying the groundwork between measures of intergenerational mobility and economic growth, there has been little empirical evidence supporting the notion that higher levels of intergenerational mobility correspond to higher rates of economic growth. Second, there exists a gap between the theoretical and empirical studies done in the field. The two main divisions tend to measure mobility using different definitions, which makes it hard to bridge the two and makes empirical verification of theoretical studies difficult. The goal of this dissertation is to address these shortcomings. First, a complete review of the literature is conducted in Chapter 2. Following this, Chapter 3 contributes some of the first empirical evidence linking intergenerational mobility to economic growth using econometric techniques. I use data from Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) in the United States to discern the impact that absolute upward income mobility has on the average annual growth rate of real gross metropolitan product (RGMP) from 2001 to 2011. I find that absolute mobility has a positive impact on annual RGMP growth over the time period, using a cross-section of 297 observations. These results are robust to spatial dependencies under a variety of spatial weighting matrices and under two stage least squares estimation. In Chapter 4, an overlapping generations endogenous growth model is used to study absolute upward income mobility and regional economic growth within a national economy. I find that regions that devote a higher level of funding to K-12 education achieve a higher level of absolute upward mobility. In turn, regions experiencing higher levels of absolute mobility also experience a higher college education rate, a higher rate of economic growth and less wage inequality. These findings are empirically verified using data from the United States and nonparametric estimation. Using the model, I also find sufficient evidence to suggest that regions with limited access to credit markets experience lower levels of absolute upward mobility.

Subject Area

Economic theory

Recommended Citation

Mauro, Joseph Anthony, "Essays on Intergenerational Mobility and Economic Growth" (2017). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10268027.