Is it all about school? Intergenerational income mobility in England and the importance of educationISER External Seminars

We use newly linked UK administrative to estimate absolute income mobility for children born in England in the 1980s. We find huge differences across the country, with a strong North-South gradient. Children from low-income families who grew up in the lowest mobility areas – overwhelmingly in the North – are expected to end up at the 32nd percentile of the income distribution as adults, while those from the highest mobility areas – overwhelmingly in the South-East – are expected to end up at the 45th percentile. This corresponds to substantial differences in earnings of more than £6,000, relative to average age 28 earnings for this group of £12,000. More than 40% of the variation in absolute mobility within the country can be explained by differences in average educational achievement across areas. This indicates that education policy has an important role to play to equalise opportunities of children from low-income families across the country, though will not be sufficient to fully do so on its own. High mobility is further strongly related to lower poverty, a stronger labour market, a higher share of skilled jobs and higher inequality. The latter finding implies that the “Great Gatsby curve” does not hold within England, unlike in the US or Italy.

Presented by:

Lindsey Macmillan (UCL)

Date & time:

9 Jun 2021 11:30 am - 9 Jun 2021 12:30 pm


Zoom link for online meeting: Please note that this event is open to everyone, but those who are not members of University of Essex need to register by simply sending their names to

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