Miles Corak: Intergenerational Earnings Mobility and the Inheritance of Employers


Monday, January 25, 2016, 12:00pm to 1:45pm


Harvard Kennedy School: Allison Dining Room

Miles Corak, Professor of Economics, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa. Visiting Professor of Economics, Harvard University.

About 4 in 10 young adults have worked for an employer that also employed their father, and almost 7 in 10 if their parent had income in the top 1%. This influences the intergenerational transmission of inequality, and is strongly associated with the preservation of top earning status across generations.

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About the speaker

Miles Corak is a professor of economics with the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa, where he has worked since 2007 teaching principles of economics in a way relevant for public policy. He also teaches labour economics, social policy, and statistical research methods. During the 2015/2016 academic year, he is a visiting professor with the Department of Economics at Harvard University (contact information).

Much of Miles Corak's research involves comparisons across countries. It focuses on labour markets and social policy, and is detailed in articles he has published on child poverty, access to university education, social and economic mobility, and unemployment. He is currently working on issues dealing with the socioeconomic status of immigrants and children of immigrants, and also with comparisons in the development and well being of children in the rich countries.

He has edited three books, the most recent—Generational Income Mobility in North America and Europe—was published by Cambridge University Press in 2004 and offers a comparative analysis of economic mobility.

Corak is affiliated with a number of research institutes and public policy think tanks as a research fellow or advisor, including the Institute for the Study of Labor (Bonn), the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, the Inequality Measurement, Interpretation, and Policy Network of The Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics (University of Chicago),  the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (University College London)  the Institute for Research on Public Policy (Montreal), the C.D. Howe Institute (Toronto), and the Broadbent Institute (Ottawa). 

His paper (co-authored with Lori Curtis and Shelley Phipps)  “Economic Mobility, Family Background, and the Well-Being of Children in Canada and the United States,” won the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) “Best Comparative Paper Award” for 2009.

His paper “Income Inequality, Equality of Opportunity, and Intergenerational Mobility,” published in the Summer 2013 issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, was awarded the Doug Purvis Memorial Prize for 2014. This is an annual award by the Canadian Economics Association  “to the authors of a highly significant, written contribution to Canadian economic policy.” In 2015 Corak received the Mike McCracken Award for Economic Statistics from the Canadian Economics Association.

View Miles Corak's personal website

See also: Spring 2016