The contribution of cognitive and non-cognitive skills to intergenerational social mobility
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Description: We investigated intergenerational educational and occupational mobility in a sample of 2594 adult offspring and 2525 of their parents. Participants completed assessments of general cognitive ability and five non-cognitive factors related to social achievement; 88% were also genotyped allowing computation of educational attainment polygenic scores (PGS). Most offspring were mobile, with those scoring at least one standard deviation greater than their parents on both the cognitive and non-cognitive measures rarely moving down and frequently moving up. The PGS was also associated with mobility, with offspring inheriting a favorable subset of parent alleles tending to move up and those inheriting a less favorable subset tending to move down. Parent education did not moderate the association of offspring skill with social mobility, suggesting that low-skilled offspring from advantaged homes were not protected from downward mobility. These data implicate the contribution of cognitive and non-cognitive skills to the intergenerational re-ordering of social status.
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