New Census Figures on Income Inequality Bode Poorly for Social Mobility

By Elisabeth Jacobs – One reason growing economic inequality over the last several decades might be troubling for the promise of greater social mobility is the increasingly tight correlation between income and education. Economists generally agree that rising returns to skill are a major factor driving the run-up in inequality.

As the demand for skilled workers has outpaced the supply, wages for the most-educated Americans have risen sharply relative to those with less education. As a result, better-educated parents have relatively more income available for investing in their children’s acquisition of human capital as compared to parents with less education.

Moreover, highly-educated parents are able to transmit social and cultural capital to their children, which in turn impacts the next generation’s ability to climb the economic ladder. more>


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