Transmission of Inequality

29 Sep 2023 12:13

Yet Another Inadequate Placeholder

Peeves from teaching this:

  1. Single-number summaries (like parent-child correlations or intergenerational elasticities) which assume a single, linear relationship between parents and children, the same for all socio-economic strata. That would be a fantastically interesting, even puzzling, discovery. It shouldn't be pre-judged by the data analysis! (Chetty et al. avoid my ire here by conditioning on origins in particular low strata.)
  2. The name "Great Gatsby Curve" for the claim that countries or eras with high inequality across the population also have high inter-generational transmission of inequality. To get this reference, you have to know the plot of a 1925 novel --- it makes the discussion of an important issue more obscure to those who lack a completely irrelevant piece of cultural capital! (Admittedly, the book is widely taught in American high schools, but I guarantee you that plenty of people who went to good American schools were never assigned it, never read it out of class, and don't remember it even if they were assigned it --- let alone non-Americans.)