Horatio Alger Meets the Mobility Tables

65 Pages Posted: 16 May 2000 Last revised: 28 Apr 2021

See all articles by Douglas Holtz-Eakin

Douglas Holtz-Eakin

Syracuse University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Harvey S. Rosen

Princeton University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Robert Weathers

Syracuse University - Center for Policy Research

Date Written: March 2000

Abstract

The question of how entrepreneurship relates to income mobility is cogent given the current public debate about the sources of income inequality and mobility in United States society. We examine how experience with entrepreneurship has affected an individual's place in the earnings distribution. Our basic tack is to follow individuals' positions in the income distribution over time, and to see how their mobility (or lack thereof) was affected by involvement with entrepreneurship. Our main finding is that for low-income individuals there is some merit to the notion that the self-employed moved ahead in the earnings distribution relative to those who remained wage earners. On the other hand, for those at the upper end of the earnings distribution, those who became self-employed often advanced less in the earnings distribution than their salaried counterparts.

Suggested Citation

Holtz-Eakin, Douglas and Rosen, Harvey S. and Weathers, Robert, Horatio Alger Meets the Mobility Tables (March 2000). NBER Working Paper No. w7619, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=228090

Douglas Holtz-Eakin (Contact Author)

Syracuse University ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Harvey S. Rosen

Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Germany

Robert Weathers

Syracuse University - Center for Policy Research ( email )

Department of Economics
Syracuse, NY 13244
United States
315-443-3114 (Phone)

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