Book Chapter
Social mobility and human capital in low- and middle-income countries

Parental human capital and endowments may affect children’s human capital, which in turn may affect children’s income and thus social mobility. This chapter focuses on what we know about these links in low- and middle-income countries.

It starts with definitions of human capital and endowments and simple frameworks for guiding summaries of what we know and do not know about these links. It discusses determinants of children’s human capital in the form of cognitive skills, socioemotional skills and health, which pertain directly to some indicators of social mobility; reviews estimates of impacts of these forms of human capital, which pertain to some other indicators of social mobility, such as income.

It concludes with a summary suggesting some positive impacts of parental human capital and endowments on social mobility in low- and middle-income countries, policy implications, and gaps in the literature pertaining to both data and methodology.