Adrian Adermon

I am an associate professor (docent) at the Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy (IFAU) in Uppsala, Sweden. I am also affiliated with IZA, the Uppsala Center for Labor Studies (UCLS), and the Uppsala Center for Fiscal Studies (UCFS).

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

Earnings losses and the role of the welfare state during the COVID-19 pandemic: evidence from Sweden

Accepted for publication in Review of Income and Wealth
Abstract Many governments introduced temporary adjustments to counter the economic and health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. We study the importance of already existing government transfers and pandemic measures to mitigate individual income losses during the pandemic in Sweden using a difference-in-differences approach and population-wide data on monthly earnings and government transfer payments. We find that labor earnings dropped by 2.7 percent in 2020. Existing transfers and pandemic measures reduced earnings losses to 1.5 percent. These average effects mask considerable differences in income losses, which were, by and large, evened out by existing transfers and pandemic measures.

Equality of opportunity and intergenerational mobility

with Gunnar Brandén and Martin Nybom
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

Measuring Absolute Income Mobility: Lessons from North America and Europe (2024)

Abstract We use linked parent-child administrative data for five countries in North America and Europe, as well as detailed survey data for two more, to investigate methodological challenges in the estimation of absolute income mobility. We show that the commonly used “copula and marginals” approximation methods perform well across countries in our sample, and the greatest challenges to their accuracy stem not from assumptions about relative mobility rates over time but from the use of nonrepresentative marginal income distributions. We also provide a multicountry analysis of sensitivity to specification decisions related to age of income measurement, income concept, family structure, and price index.

Gig-jobs: Stepping stones or dead ends? (2022)

Abstract How useful is work experience from the gig economy for labor market entrants searching for traditional wage jobs? We conducted a correspondence study in Sweden, comparing callback rates for recent high school graduates 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.

Dynastic human capital, inequality, and intergenerational mobility (2021)

Abstract We estimate long-run intergenerational persistence in human capital using information on outcomes for the extended family: the dynasty. A dataset including the entire Swedish population, linking four generations, allows us to identify parents’ siblings and cousins, their spouses, and spouses’ siblings. Using various human capital measures, we show that traditional parent-child estimates underestimate long-run intergenerational persistence by at least one-third. By adding outcomes for more distant ancestors, we show that almost all of the persistence is captured by the parental generation. Data on adoptees show that at least one-third of long-term persistence is attributed to environmental factors.

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: 2024-04-26