CES - Discussion paper series DPS 98.10 pages:1-46
This paper explores the link between the measurement of intergenerational mobility and the notion of equality of opportunity. We show how recently proposed theories of equality of opportunity can be meaningfully adapted to the intergenerational context. This throws a new light on the interpretation of existing mobility measures: these may be interesting to measure mobility as movement, but they are inadequate to capture the notion of equality of opportunity. We propose some new mobility measures, which start from the idea that the intergenerational transition matrix gives useful information about the opportunity sets of the children of different social classes. These measures are used in an empirical illustration to evaluate the degree of inequality of opportunity in the US, Great Britain and Italy.