, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 913–938 | Cite as

Childhood Circumstances and the Intergenerational Transmission of Socioeconomic Status

  • Leandro Carvalho


A large literature has documented the intergenerational transmission of socioeconomic status (SES). However, the mechanisms by which SES transmits across generations are still little understood. This article investigates whether characteristics determined in childhood play an important role in the intergenerational transmission. Using data from the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey, I document the extent to which childhood human capital accounts for the intergenerational SES correlation. My results imply that childhood health and nutrition, cognitive and noncognitive abilities, and early schooling account for between one-third and one-half of the relationship between parents’ SES and their offspring’s SES.


Intergenerational transmission Socioeconomic status Human capital Childhood Early life circumstances 



I am grateful to Anne Case, David Lee, Chris Paxson, and Sam Schulhofer-Wohl for their advice and support. I am also indebted to Silvia Helena Barcellos, Deforest McDuff, Ashley Ruth Miller, Francisco Perez Arce Novaro, Heather Royer, Jim Smith, and seminar participants at Princeton University. All remaining errors are mine.

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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RANDSanta MonicaUSA

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