Skills, Parental sorting, and child inequality

Author: Martin Nybom, And Erik Plug, And Bas van der Klaauw, And Lennart Ziegler, And
Dnr: 16/2017

This project studies a new potential explanation for the growing earnings inequality that has been documented in many countries since the 1980s. We first formulate a simple skill and education model to explain how better access to higher education can affect assortative mating on skills of parents and the earnings distribution of children. Then we study this explanation empirically using Swedish registry data on the educational attainment of parents and children, their earnings, and (for men) their cognitive test scores from the mandatory military draft. We also provide causal evidence on the impact of educational expansion on marital skill sorting and intergenerational skill transmission by exploiting college openings in the 1960s and 1970s as an exogenous source of spatial variation in college access.