Unequal Chances: Family Background and Economic Success

Overview

"Unequal Chances collects important essays on the determinants of lifetime inequality. It changes the way we think about American society."—James J. Heckman, Nobel Prize-winning economist

"In analyzing the persistence of economic inequality between generations, the authors of this book make major advances. They add to the literature demonstrating that this persistence is much stronger than has often been supposed, and they further challenge the conventional wisdom in emphasising the importance of the ...

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Overview

"Unequal Chances collects important essays on the determinants of lifetime inequality. It changes the way we think about American society."—James J. Heckman, Nobel Prize-winning economist

"In analyzing the persistence of economic inequality between generations, the authors of this book make major advances. They add to the literature demonstrating that this persistence is much stronger than has often been supposed, and they further challenge the conventional wisdom in emphasising the importance of the intergenerational transmission of noncognitive attributes."—John Goldthorpe, University of Oxford

"America believes that we both have adequate social mobility and that it reflects a social Darwinism of just rewards. This powerful collection punctures both assumptions. Forty years after John Kennedy courageously pointed to the unfair inheritance of both wealth and poverty in America, this rigorous analysis demonstrates that parents' wealth, race, and schooling are ever more determinant of life chances. We can only hope that moral and policy judgments will be informed and inspired by this work."—Anthony Marx, president of Amherst College

"This book takes a first cut at bringing together the many pieces of the complex puzzle of economic opportunity in market societies. This is a very important topic, and the book reaches into several disciplines to gain perspective. It is well timed, well conceived, and well executed; it makes for a great read. In addition, many of the pieces draw on multiple data sources to gain a broader picture. This makes the contributions, both individually and collectively, not only excellent pieces of scholarship but different from the normal journal fare."—Martina Morris, University of Washington, coauthor of Divergent Paths

"A consensus has emerged of late that the correlation between economic origins and destinations is higher than scholars used to think it was—maybe more than twice as high. The scholars contributing to this volume did the research that forged the new consensus. Bringing their work together in a systematic way is a service to the research community and the public. "—Michael Hout, University of California, Berkeley, coauthor of Inequality by Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare
An impressive book. . . . [T]he book includes a heavy dose of philosophy about social justice and what part the family plays in creating, sustaining, or advancing economic advantage, to the loss and gain of other families.
" Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare ry Nackerud

An impressive book. . . . [T]he book includes a heavy dose of philosophy about social justice and what part the family plays in creating, sustaining, or advancing economic advantage, to the loss and gain of other families.
From the Publisher
"An impressive book. . . . [T]he book includes a heavy dose of philosophy about social justice and what part the family plays in creating, sustaining, or advancing economic advantage, to the loss and gain of other families."—Larry Nackerud, Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691136202
  • Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
  • Publication date: 1/3/2008
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Samuel Bowles is Research Professor and director of the Behavioral Sciences Program at the Santa Fe Institute, and professor of Economics at the University of Siena. He is the author of "Microeconomics" (Princeton); the coauthor, with Herbert Gintis, of "Democracy and Capitalism"; and the coeditor, with Kenneth Arrow and Steven Durlauf, of "Meritocracy and Inequality" (Princeton). Herbert Gintis is an external faculty member at the Santa Fe Institute and professor emeritus of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is the author of "Game Theory Evolving" (Princeton). Melissa Osborne Groves is associate professor of economics at Towson University.
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Table of Contents

Preface vii
Introduction by Samuel Bowles, Herbert Gintis, and Melissa Osborne Groves 1
Chapter One: The Apple Does Not Fall Far from the Tree by Greg Duncan, Ariel Kalil, Susan E. Mayer, Robin Tepper, and Monique R. Payne 23
Chapter Two: The Apple Falls Even Closer to the Tree than We Thought: New and Revised Estimates of the Intergenerational Inheritance of Earnings by Bhashkar Mazumder 80
Chapter Three: The Changing Effect of Family Background on the Incomes of American Adults by David J. Harding, Christopher Jencks, Leonard M. Lopoo, and Susan E. Mayer 100
Chapter Four: Influences of Nature and Nurture on Earnings Variation: A Report on a Study of Various Sibling Types in Sweden by Anders Björklund, Markus Jäntti, and Gary Solon 145
Chapter Five: Rags, Riches, and Race: The Intergenerational Economic Mobility of Black and White Families in the United States by Tom Hertz 165
Chapter Six: Resemblance in Personality and Attitudes between Parents and Their Children: Genetic and Environmental Contributions by John C. Loehlin 192
Chapter Seven: Personality and the Intergenerational Transmission of Economic Status by Melissa Osborne Groves 208
Chapter Eight: Son Preference, Marriage, and Intergenerational Transfer in Rural China by Marcus W. Feldman, Shuzhuo Li, Nan Li, Shripad Tuljapurkar, and Xiaoyi Jin 232
Chapter Nine: Justice, Luck, and the Family: The Intergenerational Transmission of Economic Advantage from a Normative Perspective by Adam Swift 256
References 277
Index 297

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