Working Papers

Growth, Industrialization, and the Intergenerational Correlation of Advantage


The shift from feudalism to industrial capitalism was generally accompanied by an increase in social mobility. We ask whether such an increase has occurred in a developing nation currently undergoing rapid industrialization, Indonesia. It has, at least as measured by a declining intergenerational correlation of education. To highlight the effects of economic growth on intergenerational mobility, we contrast Indonesia’s experience with that of Bangladesh, where industrialization has proceeded more slowly and the correlation between parents’ and children’s education has been roughly stable. We also examine potential causal channels for the rising educational mobility we find in Indonesia, but cannot identify specific pathways related to above-average school building or rapid industrialization.