Original article

IZA Journal of Migration

, 1:4

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Human capital transmission and the earnings of second-generation immigrants in Sweden

  • Mats HammarstedtAffiliated withLinnaeus Centre for Labour Market and Discrimination Studies, Linnaeus University Email author 
  • , Mårten PalmeAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, Stockholm University


We compare the earnings and the intergenerational earnings mobility of immigrants with natives in Sweden. We find an overall convergence in average earnings between immigrants and natives across generations. This convergence hides a divergence in average earnings between groups of immigrants with different ethnic origins. We also find that, on average, immigrants have lower intergenerational earnings mobility within groups with similar ethnic backgrounds. Immigrant groups with relatively low intergenerational earnings mobility increased their average relative earnings in the second generation. The interpretation of this is that immigrant groups with a high degree of intergenerational transmission of human capital from parent to offspring improve their position on the labor market across generations.


J15 J24 J61 J62 Intergenerational income mobility Intergenerational earnings correlation Becker-Tomes model Ethnic capital