We propose a new approach to quantify intergenerational processes that exploits different degrees of kinship within the same generation. This "horizontal" approach has several advantages: it can be applied within the same data source and time period, scales well in administrative sources, is informative about assortative processes, and yields many more kinship moments than a vertical approach. This allows us to fit a detailed model that accounts for the transmission of observable and latent advantages via intergenerational, sibling and assortative processes. Using Swedish registry data, we find strong persistence in the latent determinants of socioeconomic status, and a striking degree of assortative mating - to rationalize our kinship data, spouses must be far more similar in latent than in observable advantages. A standard genetic model cannot fit the data. Instead, we fit an extended model that allows both for genetic and non-genetic latent mechanisms. Genes explain about seven percent of the variation in educational attainment, and assortative mating occurs primarily in non-genetic factors.
Co-authors: Ignacio Ortuño-Ortin, Jan Stuhler