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The geography of intergenerational mobility in Canada and the United States

Summary:
This is Lecture 8 of the course ECON 85600, “Inequality, Economic Opportunity, and Public Policy,” that my class and I are now conducting online. You are welcome to participate, and can review all the course materials at https://milescorak.com/equality-of-opportunity/teaching/ . Warning: this is likely to interest social scientists in sociology, economics, or other fields, interested in developing a specialized knowledge of the subject! This presentation summarizes research on comparing social mobility in Canada and the United States that finds intergenerational income mobility is lower in the United States than in Canada, but varies significantly within each country. The full reading list and access to other papers are on the page devoted to this lecture at

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This is Lecture 8 of the course ECON 85600, “Inequality, Economic Opportunity, and Public Policy,” that my class and I are now conducting online. You are welcome to participate, and can review all the course materials at https://milescorak.com/equality-of-opportunity/teaching/ .

Warning: this is likely to interest social scientists in sociology, economics, or other fields, interested in developing a specialized knowledge of the subject!

This presentation summarizes research on comparing social mobility in Canada and the United States that finds intergenerational income mobility is lower in the United States than in Canada, but varies significantly within each country.

The full reading list and access to other papers are on the page devoted to this lecture at /https://milescorak.com/equality-of-opportunity/teaching/lecture-8/

The Canada-US border divides central and eastern Canada from the US Great Lakes and northeastern regions. At the same time some Canadian regions have more in common with the low mobility southern parts of the United States than with the rest of Canada. The fact that these areas represent a much larger fraction of the US population also explains why mobility is lower in the United States.

View this lecture in conjunction with your reading and of the Quaterly Journal of Economics paper published in 2014 by Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, Patrick Kline, and Emmanuel Saez called “Where is the Land of Opportunity? The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States.

Your reading is supported by the associated student presentation.

Be certain to leave a comment, question, or concern in the “What do you think?” box at the very bottom of this post. Frame your feedback in a way that is of benefit to the learning environment for all students, and don’t hesitate to raise a question of clarification if you don’t understand an issue.

As a bonus, and for your information here are links to a series of posts that summarize the findings of the Canada – US comparisons, and place them in a policy relevant context:

If there is such a thing as the “Canadian Dream,” it would look very much like what Americans say is the “American Dream”

Intergenerational mobility between and within Canada and the United States

The “middle class” is within easier reach for low income Canadian children, than it is for low income Americans

Equality of Opportunity is a Choice

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