Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2012

Document Type




First Advisor

Murat Iyigun


This paper adds maternal employment and income to a traditional intergenerational income elasticity model to measure mothers’ effects on transmission of economic status from parents to children. Assuming that mothers have a specific role in perpetuating the human capital and income-generating behavior of a family, I examine the intergenerational transmission of economic status using regression analysis in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics on individuals born between 1950 and 1974. My results suggest that while the income of fathers is very important in accounting for sons’ and daughters’ future outcomes, the amount of time parents stay at home or are unemployed also affects intergenerational transmission of economic status for daughters. Specifically, daughters experience a positive role model effect on their future income if mothers are employed during their childhood while fathers’ time spent employed negatively impacts daughter’s income. The interaction model testing maternal employment on transmission of income from father to daughter does have tentative positive results. When examining economic mobility for cohorts, I find that there are no significant changes in mobility for sons or daughters.