Deciphering the Structure of Systemic Racism? Racial Differences in the Intergenerational Association of Intragenerational Income Mobility
Alexander Adames, Arthur Sakamoto1, Xi Song2
1Texas A&M University, 2University of Pennsylvania

Research on racial differences in intergenerational mobility patterns has typically relied on multi-year averages to estimate intergenerational elasticities. By design, this approach ignores life conditions before and after these temporal snapshots that may affect the trajectory of children’s adulthood socioeconomic trajectories. This omission is problematic as existing research has demonstrated racial disparities across the life course in factors important for social mobility.  Drawing on data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), we show important racial differences in the relationship between childhood and adulthood family income trajectories. Overall, intergenerational associations in life-course income trajectories are stronger among Whites than Blacks. However, the life-cycle patterns vary significantly by race: childhood family income has a stronger effect on later-adulthood family income than on early-adulthood family income among Whites while the relationship is reversed among Blacks.