The Impacts of Neighborhoods on Intergenerational Mobility

Click to access nbhds_exec_summary.pdf

To what extent are children’s opportunities for upward economic mobility shaped by the
neighborhoods in which they grow up? We study this question using data from de-identified tax
records on more than five million children whose families moved across counties between 1996 and
2012. The study consists of two parts. In part one, we show that the area in which a child grows up
has significant causal effects on her prospects for upward mobility. In part two, we present estimates
of the causal effect of each county in the United States on a child’s chances of success. Using these
results, we identify the properties of high- vs. low-opportunity areas to obtain insights into policies
that can increase economic opportunity.


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