2382 Inequality and Economic Opportunity
Miles Corak, Ph.D.
Contact details, WU Kontakt: Prof. Altzinger:
Weekly hours
Language of instruction
09/14/22 to 09/30/22
Registration via LPIS
Notes to the course
Day Date Time Room
Tuesday 10/18/22 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM D3.0.237
Wednesday 10/19/22 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM D4.2.008
Thursday 10/20/22 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM D2.0.326
Friday 10/21/22 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM TC.5.15
Thursday 11/17/22 09:30 AM - 11:00 AM Ort nach Ankündigung
Thursday 11/17/22 03:00 PM - 07:30 PM Ort nach Ankündigung
Friday 11/18/22 09:30 AM - 01:30 PM Ort nach Ankündigung
Saturday 11/19/22 09:30 AM - 12:00 PM Ort nach Ankündigung


Lecture 1: Overview: The research and policy challenges of The Great Gatsby Curve

Lecture 2: Measuring Intergenerational Income Mobility

Lecture 3: Intergenerational mobility in theory

Lecture 4: Intergenerational mobility across space and over time

Learning outcomes

· To develop a knowledge of microeconomic theory used in modeling the development of human capital, socio-economic differences in economic opportunity, and labor market outcomes

· To use theory to construct empirical models of inequality and intergenerational dynamics, and to understand the most common econometric approaches in the study of socio-economic inequalities

· To review and assess the public policy response to socio-economic inequalities

Attendance requirements

Attendance required

Teaching/learning method(s)

In the first week, the four lectures are presented and discussed. At the end of each day, students are requested to submit comments and questions to the lecture until 5 p.m. same day in the afternoon. It is a ‘must do’ to study in advance for each lecture the first article of the reading list (*). For a positive grade students have to submit a four page summary “lessons learned” (one page per lecture) to: – Deadline: November 14, 2022.

On Saturday, November 19, 2022 (9:00 to 13:00), students give a presentation (max 15 slides including tables and figures) of own work. The presentation must be submitted until November 14, 2022. It has to include at least one slide reflecting the relationship between own work and important public debates.


  • 25 percent of the grade: a four page summary “lessons learned” (one page per lecture) – Deadline: November 14, 2022
  • 50 percent of the grade: presentation of a draft research paper/research proposal within the workshop on "Wealth Inequality and Intergenerational Mobility" held on November, 19th from 9:00 - 13:00 (more information on that will follow)
  • 25 percent of the grade: informed participation in class



Unit details

Unit Date Contents
1 Lecture 1:

Lecture 1Overview: The research and policy challenges of The Great Gatsby Curve):

*Corak, Miles. (2013). “Income Inequality, Equality of Opportunity, and Intergenerational Mobility.” Journal of Economic Perspectives. 27 (3): 79–102.

Jäntti, Markus, and Stephen P. Jenkins (2015). “Chapter 10 - Income Mobility.” In Handbook of Income Distribution, edited by Anthony B. Atkinson and François Bourguignon, 2:807–935. Elsevier.

Mulligan, Casey B. (1997). Parental Priorities and Economic Inequality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 6.

* absolute necessary readings 

2 Lecture 2:

Lecture 2: Measuring Intergenerational Income Mobility

*Solon, Gary (1992). “Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States.” American Economic Review. 82 (3): 393–408.

Miles Corak and Andrew Heisz (1999). “The Intergenerational Earnings and Income Mobility of Canadian Men: Evidence from Longitudinal Income Tax Data.” Journal of Human Resources. 43(3): 504-33.

Haider, Steven and Gary Solon (2006). “Life-Cycle Variation in the Association between Current and Lifetime Earnings.” American Economic Review. 96 (4): 1308–20.

Nybom, Martin and Jan Stuhler (2017). “Biases in Standard Measures of Intergenerational Dependence.” Journal of Human Resources. 52(3):800-825.

Chadwick, Laura. and Solon, Gary (2002). “Intergenerational income mobility among daughters.” American Economic Review. 92 (1): 335–44.

Corak, Miles (2019). “The Canadian Geography of Intergenerational Income Mobility.” Economic Journal. 130(631): 2134–2174.

Chetty, Raj, David Grusky, Maximilian Hell, Nathaniel Hendren, Robert Manduca, and Jimmy Narang (2017). “The Fading American Dream: Trends in Absolute Income Mobility Since 1940.” Science. 356 (6336): 398–406.

* absolute necessary readings 

3 Lecture 3:

Lecture 3: Intergenerational mobility in theory

*Becker, Gary S., and Nigel Tomes (1986). “Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families.” Journal of Labor Economics 4 (3): S1–39.

Becker, Gary S., and Nigel Tomes (1979). “An Equilibrium Theory of the Distribution of Income and Intergenerational Mobility.” Journal of Political Economy. 87 (6): 1153–89.

Solon, Gary (2004). “A model of intergenerational mobility variation over time and place.” In Generational Income Mobility in North America and Europe, edited by Miles Corak. New York: Cambridge University Press. Available at

Becker, Gary, Scott Duke Kominers, Kevin M. Murphy, and Jörg L. Spenkuch (2018). “A Theory of Intergenerational Mobility.” Journal of Political Economy. 126 (S1): S7-25.

Heckman, James J. and Stefano Mosso (2014). “The Economics of Human Development and Social Mobility.” NBER Working Paper Series 19925. Cambridge, Mass.

Heckman, James J. (2008). “Schools, Skills, and Synapses.” Economic Inquiry. 46 (3): 289–324.

*absolute necessary readings


4 Lecture 4:

Lecture 4: Intergenerational mobility across space and over time

*Chetty, Raj, Nathaniel Hendren, Patrick Kline, and Emmanuel Saez (2014). “Where Is the Land of Opportunity? The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States.” Quarterly Journal of Economics. 129 (4): 1553.

Connolly, Marie, Miles Corak and Catherine Haeck (2019). “Intergenerational Mobility between and within Canada and the United States.” Journal of Labor Economics. 37(S2): S595-S641.

Narayan, Ambar, Roy Van der Weide, et al. (2018). Fair Progress? Economic Mobility across Generations around the World. Washington, DC: World Bank.

Nybom, Martin and Jan Stuhler (2014). “Interpreting Trends in Intergenerational Mobility.” Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University. Working Paper 3/2014. Available at

Davis, Jonathan and Bhashkar Mazumder (2017, revised 2022). “The Decline of Intergenerational Mobility after 1980.” Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Working Paper No. 2017-05. Available at

Lee, Chul-In, and Gary Solon (2009). “Trends in Intergenerational Income Mobility.” Review of Economics and Statistics. 91 (4): 766–72.

Chetty, Raj, Nathaniel Hendren, Patrick Kline, Emmanuel Saez, and Nicholas Turner (2014). “Is the United States Still a Land of Opportunity? Recent Trends in Intergenerational Mobility.” American Economic Review. 104 (5): 141–47.

* absolute necessary readings

Last edited: 2022-09-13