Sims and his colleagues found that a father's education and training were better predictors of a son's income level than factors such as inherited income.
The study didn't factor in genetics, Sims said. "We're not able to distinguish human capital due to genetics versus the change in environment that comes from being better educated."
Solon said the research is important "if you care about income inequality."
"It tells us something we ought to know about the nature of income inequality -- how much difference does it make for economic success if one comes from a rich family versus a poor family?" he said.
The study appears in a recent issue of the Journal of Political Economy.
Kids.gov has more on teaching your kids about money.
SOURCES: David Sims, Ph.D., associate professor, economics, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; Gary Solon, Ph.D., professor, economics, Michigan State University, East Lansing; April 2012, Journal of Political Economy
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