The intergenerational transmission of worklessness in the UK

Publication type

Research Paper

Series Number



CMPO Working Papers University of Bristol


Publication date

June 1, 2010


This research analyses the magnitude of the intergenerational correlation in worklessness in the UK using the two British birth cohorts. By using the British Cohort Study of those born in 1970, the magnitude of the intergenerational correlation of worklessness can be assessed for a new cohort for the first time in the UK and the trend in intergenerational worklessness can be considered across time. Two empirical identification strategies commonly used in the literature are applied to UK data and a third empirical strategy, utilising the recession of 1981 is introduced to attempt to identify causality. The intergenerational correlation in worklessness in the UK is large and has increased across time, although the differences in the coefficients are not statistically significant. When a more restrictive measure of sons’ worklessness is introduced, this difference becomes statistically significant. This suggests supportive evidence of the intergenerational mobility literature for the UK. There are no statistically significant findings on causality in intergenerational worklessness, driven by either measurement issues or a lack of causality.





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