Adrian Adermon

I am a researcher at the Institute for Evaluation of Labor Market and Education Policy (IFAU) in Uppsala, Sweden. I am also affiliated with the Uppsala Center for Labor Studies (UCLS) and Uppsala Center for Fiscal Studies (UCFS) at Uppsala University.

I received my PhD in Economics from Uppsala University in 2013. My research is mainly focused on two issues: long-run social mobility; and the impact of technological change on the labor market.

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Current research projects

Dynastic human capital, inequality and intergenerational mobility

Revise and resubmit at American Economic Review
Abstract We study the importance of the extended family—the dynasty—for the persistence in inequality across generations. We use data including the entire Swedish population, linking four generations. This data structure enables us to identify parents’ siblings and cousins, their spouses, and the spouses’ siblings. Using various human capital measures, we show that traditional parent-child estimates of intergenerational persistence miss almost one-third of the persistence found at the dynasty level. To assess the importance of genetic links, we use a sample of adoptees. We then find that the importance of the extended family relative to the parents increases.

Gig-jobs: Stepping stones or dead ends?

Abstract How useful is work experience from the gig economy for entry into the traditional labor market? We conducted a correspondence study in Sweden, comparing callback rates for entry-level job applicants with (i) gig-experience (ii) traditional experience and (iii) unemployment history. We also study heterogeneous responses with respect to perceived foreign background. Our findings suggest that gig-experience is more valuable than unemployment, but less useful than traditional experience for majority applicants. Strikingly however, no form of labor market experience increases the callback rate for minority workers.

Trends in Absolute Income Mobility in North America and Europe

Under review
Abstract We compute rates of absolute upward income mobility for eight countries in North America and Europe for a range of birth cohorts from 1940 to 1985. Rates and trends in upward mobility varied dramatically across countries during this period. Some countries, such as Norway and Finland, saw sustained rates of upward mobility near 70% for cohorts born from the 1960s through the mid 1980s. Other countries, like the US and Canada, had mobility rates around 55% for recent cohorts. Denmark, the Netherlands, and the UK all started with high rates of upward mobility but have seen rates decline in recent years. Decomposition analyses suggest that high rates of relative mobility in Scandinavian countries did not contribute to their higher rates of absolute mobility. The primary driver was a more equal income distribution between cohorts, with the within-cohort distribution and overall rate of economic growth as secondary contributors.

Equality of opportunity and intergenerational mobility

Abstract The analysis of social mobility by economists has largely been been carried out in two separate strands of research. The intergenerational mobility literature is focused on estimating regressions which relate child outcomes to parental outcomes. On the other hand, the equality of opportunity literature is rooted in a normative theoretical framework, and has only more recently started generating empirical estimates of social mobility. Intergenerational mobility regressions are empirically attractive because they are relatively straight-forward to estimate, but it is not always obvious how they should be interpreted. In contrast to this, equality of opportunity measures have a clear and simple interpretation, but are very demanding in terms of data, requiring the researcher to observe a large set of variables. In this paper, we bridge the two literatures by estimating both equality of opportunity and intergenerational mobility measures—including intergenerational regression coefficients and sibling correlations—for 125 Swedish local labor markets. This allows us to test to what extent the different measures correlate, providing valuable empirical evidence on the plausibility of interpreting intergenerational mobility measures as informative about equality of opportunity.

Published papers

Intergenerational wealth mobility and the role of inheritance: Evidence from multiple generations (2018)

Abstract This study estimates intergenerational wealth correlations across up to four generations and examines the degree to which the wealth association between parents and children can be explained by inheritances. Using a Swedish dataset with newly hand-collected data on wealth and bequests, we find parent-child rank correlations of 0.3-0.4 and grandparent-grandchild rank correlations of 0.1–0.2. Bequests and gifts appear to be central in this process, accounting for at least half of the parent-child wealth correlation while earnings and education can account for only a fourth.

Job Polarization and Task-Biased Technological Change: Evidence from Sweden, 1975–2005 (2015)

with Magnus Gustavsson
Abstract In this paper, we show that between 1975 and 2005, Sweden exhibited a pattern of job polarization with expansions of the highest- and lowest-paid jobs compared to middle-wage jobs. The most popular explanation for such a pattern is the hypothesis of task-biased technological change, where technological progress reduces the demand for routine middle-wage jobs but increases the demand for non-routine jobs located at the tails of the job–wage distribution. However, our estimates do not support this explanation for the 1970s and 1980s. Stronger evidence for task-biased technological change, albeit not conclusive, is found for the 1990s and 2000s. In particular, there is both a statistically and economically significant growth of non-routine jobs and a decline of routine jobs. However, results for wages are mixed; while task-biased technological change cannot explain changes in between-occupation wage differentials, it does have considerable explanatory power for changes in within-occupation wage differentials.

Piracy and music sales: The effects of an anti-piracy law (2014)

Abstract The implementation of a copyright protection reform in Sweden in April 2009 suddenly increased the risk of being caught and punished for illegal file sharing. This paper investigates the impact of the reform on illegal file sharing and music sales using a difference-in-differences approach with Norway and Finland as control groups. We find that the reform decreased Internet traffic by 16% and increased music sales by 36% during the first six months. Pirated music therefore seems to be a strong substitute to legal music. However, the reform effects disappeared almost completely after six months, likely because of the weak enforcement of the law.
Last updated: 2020-05-26