The Role of Universities in Intergenerational Social Mobility: Examining Mobility at the Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil

Sep 2017
This paper analyzes social mobility as realized by students of a high quality public flagshipuniversity in Brazil, the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE), applying the methodology of
Chetty et al. 2017 in the paper "Mobility Report Cards: The Role of Colleges in Intergenerational
Mobility". Intergenerational income mobility is analyzed using the family income of students
matriculating to the university in 2005-2006 and individual earnings 8-9 years later. Upward
mobility is defined as the percentage of students who attain the highest quintile of individual
earnings among those who matriculated from the lowest income families. The mobility index for
UFPE is compared to public flagship and private universities in the United States as calculated
by Chetty et al. (2017). While these are non-causal estimates they nonetheless suggest that
public universities can play a key role in facilitating upward social mobility in Brazil.