Family Background and Labor Market Outcomes

Joseph G. Altonji and Thomas A. Dunn


This report examines the links between the labor market experiences and economic outcomes of individuals who are related by blood or by marriage. Each chapter is an independent study. The main objectives of Chapter 1 are (1) to provide better estimates of inter and intragenerational correlations in family income and earnings, (2) to estimate earnings correlations among individuals who are related by marriage, (3) to examine intergenerational links among a broad set of labor market outcomes, and (4) to show how intergenerational labor market data can be used to examine the sources of labor supply variation, theories of labor turnover, and theories of wage structure. In Chapter 2 we attempt to identify the sources of variation and of family similarities in wages, hours, and earnings. In Chapter 3 we measure the extent to which the education and experience slopes of wage equations are influenced by IQ, parental education, and an index of family background variables, school characteristics, and personal characteristics that predict years of education completed.