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This paper offers a new intuitive approach using census data to cast light on earnings mobility. We find that in Hong Kong upward mobility opportunities indeed fell for those born in the mid 70s and later, but that there has been a remarkable improvement for degree holders in recent years. Contrary to common belief, even though starting salaries had fallen, degree holders more or less maintained their relative advantage by age 31-35. Moreover, among degree holders, beginning in 2011 upward mobility showed an improvement for all cohorts at the higher income end though less so at the lower end. The mobility ratios of degree holders born after 1980 are higher than almost all of the earlier cohorts. The evidence suggests that this improvement is likely to be related to the retirement of the babyboomers, and is expected to continue for some time.


CPPS Working Paper Series No.198 (06/13)

Recommended Citation

Ho, L. S., Huang, K. W., Wei, X. (2013). Upward earnings mobility on the decline in Hong Kong? A study based on census data (CPPS Working Paper Series no.198). Retrieved from Lingnan University website: