The Contribution of Skills and Family Background to Educational Mobility

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3 Scopus citations


We study the role of hard and soft skills in economic performance and social mobility in a sample of twins (N = 2,764) from the Minnesota Twin Family Study, combining classical economic models of parental investment with a complete and realistic equilibrium model of genetic transmission of skills. Hard and soft skills have comparable roles in affecting early educational success and college attainment. We then use the information on family background to estimate the determinants of social intergenerational mobility. The transmission of personality characteristics – in particular but not exclusively of intelligence – explains a substantial fraction of upward and downward mobility of children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-177
Number of pages30
JournalScandinavian Journal of Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The editors of The Scandinavian Journal of Economics 2016.


  • D9
  • Genetics
  • J1
  • J24
  • inequality
  • mobility
  • soft and hard skills


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