Economist Mike Walden: Will Kids Earn More than Their Parents?

I’m Mary Walden with economist MW welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program asks if kids will earn more than their parents.  Mike, traditionally a source of pride in the American economy was that children would do better economically than their parents.  We’ve seen examples of this trend in the past, even in our own families.  Is it still the case today?

  1. Excellent question – probably one of core questions of our time
  2. An empirically question – fortunately have a study published last year that directly addresses
  3. Authors were about to compare earnings of children born in 1940 to their parents and children born in the 1980s to their parents
  4. Here’s what found: 90% of children born in 1940 in sample had higher earnings than their parents
  5. But only 50% of children born in 1980s did better than parents
  6. One explanation – educational attainment – a big determinant of earnings – more different in 1940 – larger share of parents had high school or less training, while more children went on to college
  7. Another reason – more unequal growth today – higher for high inc. fams.

And I’m Mary Walden for the Economic Perspective, an NC State Extension program from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.