Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Wim Vijverberg

Subject Categories



Consumption; Inequality; Intergeneration; Mobility; Vulnerability


This dissertation consists of three essays which aim to extend the methodology and analysis of the study of social mobility. In the first essay, differences in intergenerational mobility across race and across the parent's earnings distribution are explored through a nonparametric framework. Components of mobility are differentiated and analyzed separately in order to get a comprehensive account of heterogeneities in mobility. Several important differences are found including higher expected mobility for white households, higher idiosyncratic mobility for black households, larger disparities in expected mobility at the high end of the earnings distribution, and much higher rates of overall intergenerational persistence for black households.

The second essay addresses a source of bias in the comparison of mobility across subgroups. An increasingly popular method for estimating differences in intergenerational mobility across subgroups is the use of transition matrices. This has encouraged the practice of partitioning the sample into several discrete parts in order to draw comparisons. There is a notable bias that arises from the practice of discretization, which can lead to misleading conclusions. In this paper, that bias is explored and a new method for its correction is proposed.

The third essay explores the heterogeneous effect of macroeconomic shocks on intragenerational consumption mobility. The dynamics of consumption is of considerable interest but has gotten limited exposure in recent research due to a lack of household-level panel data. This paper pools the panel datasets that are available through The World Bank Living Standard Measurement Surveys in order to get robust measures of the annual mobility of household per-capita consumption. Through a differentiation of mobility between its downward component, vulnerability, and its upward component, adaptability, asymmetries are explored in the contributions of education and household size toward mobility.

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Economics Commons