Both Gottschalk and Danziger (1997) and Hertz (2006) report a variety of analyses, investigating how robust their results are and the impact of various variables (e.g., race, education) on their results. I think Table 1 provides a useful summary of a central result from Gottschalk and Danziger. They have data on the income quintiles of the families of 1,909 persons in 1968 and 1991. They find that over approximately a quarter century, about two thirds or more of these people end up in families within one quintile of the families within which they start.
- Bowles, Samuel and Herbert Gintis (2002). "The Inheritance of Inequality", Journal of Economic Perspectives, V. 16, N. 3: 3-30.
- Gottschalk, Peter and Sheldon Danziger (1997). "Family Income Mobility - How Much Is There and Has It Changed?", (Draft?) (Dec)
- Hertz, Tom (2006). "Understanding Mobility in America", American University for the Center for American Progress (26 Apr)
- Mazumder, Bhashkar (2005). "Fortunate Sons: New Estimates of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States Using Social Security Earnings Data", Review of Economics and Statistics, V. 87, N. 2: 235-255