Essays on Intergenerational Mobility

Rafia Zafar, Fordham University


Economic growth has led to an increase in income inequality around the world. Notable research from developed countries also suggests a decline in intergenerational economic mobility. The concerns of inequality in income and opportunities are far greater for developing countries yet we find very less evidence on intergenerational mobility in developing countries. By 2030 more than 85 percent of the world's population will be living in the developing world and these countries are also characterized by a growing youth population highlighting the need to gather evidence on intergenerational mobility. In this dissertation, I use various sources of publicly available data to provide evidence on intergenerational mobility in Indonesia. In Chapter I, I provide evidence on intergenerational mobility in both income and consumption expenditure. My findings show lower economic mobility in Indonesia. These findings also show that mobility estimates from income tend to overestimate mobility and in case of developing countries, consumption expenditure can more accurately estimate economic mobility. There has been an improvement in education attainment around the world and education is one of the main factors of improving economic outcomes of future generations. In Chapter II, I provide evidence on multigenerational education persistence in Indonesia. Overall, I find higher education persistence in Indonesia as compared to the world average. However, I find that education persistence has declined over generations, which implies that in recent generations children are more educated than their parents. Education persistence is also lower for the younger born cohort indicating relatively higher education mobility for younger generation. In this chapter, I also show that policy interventions can have a positive impact on improving not just education outcomes of current generations but also facilitates education mobility of future generations. My dissertation makes a unique contribution by presenting evidence on intergenerational mobility in a large developing country, Indonesia. My work also shows that household survey data on income and consumption expenditure can facilitate estimation of intergenerational mobility and consumption expenditure can in fact provide a more precise measure of economic mobility.

Subject Area

Economics|Economic theory

Recommended Citation

Zafar, Rafia, "Essays on Intergenerational Mobility" (2021). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28498794.