Parental Priorities and Economic Inequality

by Casey B. Mulligan

Chapter XIV


A model of the formation of altruism and its application to intergenerational mobility and other human behavior are the main theoretical contributions of this book. Section A of the concluding chapter reviews the model of the formation of parental priorities. The resulting theory of intergenerational mobility is reviewed in Section B. Section C lists some of the empirical failures of standard economic models of intergenerational mobility that I document in the empirical chapters of this book. Several other implications of endogenous altruism derived in the book are untested at this time but are itemized in Section D for future empirical research.

Section E reviews some of the main criticisms of altruistic models that have appeared in the economics literature. I argue that they are not criticisms of my model. Section E addresses an audience of mainly economists and can be skipped by those who are uninterested in a fairly esoteric debate among economists.

Although I make progress on the modeling of intergenerational mobility, my work also raises new questions. Those questions are briefly discussed in the concluding section.

© copyright 1996, Casey B. Mulligan.