IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jeborg/v181y2021icp290-311.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The long-lasting effects of family and childhood on adult wellbeing: Evidence from British cohort data

Author

Listed:
  • Flèche, Sarah
  • Lekfuangfu, Warn N.
  • Clark, Andrew E.

Abstract

To what extent do childhood experiences continue to affect adult wellbeing over the life course? Previous work on this link has been carried out either at one particular adult age or for some average over adulthood. We here use two British birth-cohort datasets (the 1958 NCDS and the 1970 BCS) to map out the time profile of the effect of childhood experiences on adult outcomes, including life satisfaction. We find that the effects of many aspects of childhood do not fade away over time but are rather remarkably stable. In both birth-cohorts, child non-cognitive skills are the strongest predictors of adult life satisfaction at all ages. Of these, emotional health is the strongest. Childhood cognitive performance is more important than good conduct in explaining adult life satisfaction in the earlier NCDS cohort, whereas this ranking is inverted in the more recent BCS.

Suggested Citation

  • Flèche, Sarah & Lekfuangfu, Warn N. & Clark, Andrew E., 2021. "The long-lasting effects of family and childhood on adult wellbeing: Evidence from British cohort data," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 181(C), pages 290-311.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:181:y:2021:i:c:p:290-311
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2018.09.018
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016726811830266X
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.jebo.2018.09.018?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James P. Smith, 2009. "The Impact of Childhood Health on Adult Labor Market Outcomes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 478-489, August.
    2. Currie, Janet & Thomas, Duncan, 1999. "Does Head Start help hispanic children?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 235-262, November.
    3. James J. Heckman & Stefano Mosso, 2014. "The Economics of Human Development and Social Mobility," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 689-733, August.
    4. Almond, Douglas & Currie, Janet, 2011. "Human Capital Development before Age Five," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 15, pages 1315-1486, Elsevier.
    5. James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 31-47, May.
    6. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2007. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 122(1), pages 409-439.
    7. repec:hal:pseose:halshs-01109062 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Christopher R. Bollinger & Barry T. Hirsch, 2013. "Is Earnings Nonresponse Ignorable?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 407-416, May.
    9. Frijters, Paul & Hatton, Timothy J. & Martin, Richard M. & Shields, Michael A., 2010. "Childhood economic conditions and length of life: Evidence from the UK Boyd Orr cohort, 1937-2005," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 39-47, January.
    10. Janet Currie, 2011. "Inequality at Birth: Some Causes and Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 1-22, May.
    11. Lex Borghans & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
    12. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2007. "The Production of Cognitive Achievement in Children: Home, School, and Racial Test Score Gaps," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 91-136.
    13. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura & Amir Yaron, 2011. "Sources of Lifetime Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 2923-2954, December.
    14. Janet Currie, 2009. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Socioeconomic Status, Poor Health in Childhood, and Human Capital Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 87-122, March.
    15. Richard Layard & Andrew E. Clark & Francesca Cornaglia & Nattavudh Powdthavee & James Vernoit, 2014. "What Predicts a Successful Life? A Life‐course Model of Well‐being," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(580), pages 720-738, November.
    16. Frijters, Paul & Beatton, Tony, 2012. "The mystery of the U-shaped relationship between happiness and age," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 525-542.
    17. Heckman, James J. & Moon, Seong Hyeok & Pinto, Rodrigo & Savelyev, Peter A. & Yavitz, Adam, 2010. "The rate of return to the HighScope Perry Preschool Program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 114-128, February.
    18. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
    19. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan, 2007. "Accounting for Intergenerational Income Persistence: Noncognitive Skills, Ability and Education," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(519), pages 43-60, March.
    20. Currie, Janet & Thomas, Duncan, 1995. "Does Head Start Make a Difference?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 341-364, June.
    21. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, May.
    22. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-255, March-Apr.
    23. Jorge Luis García & James J. Heckman & Duncan Ermini Leaf & María José Prados, 2016. "The Life-cycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program," NBER Working Papers 22993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Heckman, James J. & Humphries, John Eric & Kautz, Tim (ed.), 2014. "The Myth of Achievement Tests," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226100098, October.
    25. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
    26. Philip Oreopoulos & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2011. "Priceless: The Nonpecuniary Benefits of Schooling," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(1), pages 159-184, Winter.
    27. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2003. "On The Specification and Estimation of The Production Function for Cognitive Achievement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages 3-33, February.
    28. Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005. "The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
    29. Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Lekfuangfu, Warn N. & Wooden, Mark, 2015. "What's the good of education on our overall quality of life? A simultaneous equation model of education and life satisfaction for Australia," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 10-21.
    30. Paul Frijters & David W. Johnston & Michael A. Shields, 2014. "Does Childhood Predict Adult Life Satisfaction? Evidence from British Cohort Surveys," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(580), pages 688-719, November.
    31. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1997. "The Career Decisions of Young Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 473-522, June.
    32. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile & Phongsack Manivong & Leslie L. Roos, 2010. "Child Health and Young Adult Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(3).
    33. Paul Contoyannis & Martin Dooley, 2010. "The role of child health and economic status in educational, health, and labour market outcomes in young adulthood," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 43(1), pages 323-346, February.
    34. Jorge Luis García & James J. Heckman & Duncan Ermini Leaf & María José Prados, 2020. "Quantifying the Life-Cycle Benefits of an Influential Early-Childhood Program," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(7), pages 2502-2541.
    35. Ahlburg, Dennis, 1998. "Intergenerational Transmission of Health," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 265-270, May.
    36. repec:ucn:wpaper:10197/317 is not listed on IDEAS
    37. Switek, Maggie, 2013. "Explaining Well-Being over the Life Cycle: A Look at Life Transitions during Young Adulthood," IZA Discussion Papers 7877, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The Long-Lasting Effects of Family and Childhood on Adult Wellbeing: Evidence from British Cohort Data
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2018-05-17 19:57:21
    2. The Long-Lasting Effects of Family and Childhood on Adult Wellbeing: Evidence from British Cohort Data
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2017-11-24 00:28:38

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Andrew E. Clark & Conchita D'Ambrosio & Marta Barazzetta, 2021. "Childhood circumstances and young adulthood outcomes: The role of mothers' financial problems," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(2), pages 342-357, February.
    2. Clark, Andrew E. & Lee, Tom, 2021. "Early-life correlates of later-life well-being: Evidence from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 181(C), pages 360-368.
    3. Lekfuangfu, Warn N. & Odermatt, Reto, 2022. "All I have to do is dream? The role of aspirations in intergenerational mobility and well-being," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 148(C).
    4. Andrén, Daniela & Clark, Andrew E & D´Ambrosio, Conchita & Karlsson, Sune & Pettersson, Nicklas, 2017. "Subjective and physiological measures of well-being: an exploratory analysis using birth-cohort data," Working Papers 2017:8, Örebro University, School of Business.
    5. Clark, Andrew E. & D’Ambrosio, Conchita & Barrazzetta, Marta, 2019. "Childhood circumstances and young adult outcomes: the role of mothers' financial problems," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 102630, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Karyn Morrissey & Tim Taylor & Gengyang Tu, 2023. "Estimating the Impact of Relative Financial Circumstances in Childhood on Adult Mental Wellbeing: a Mediation Analysis," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 18(2), pages 915-930, April.
    7. Montorsi, Carlotta & Fusco, Alessio & Van Kerm, Philippe & Bordas, Stéphane P.A., 2024. "Predicting depression in old age: Combining life course data with machine learning," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 52(C).
    8. Marta E Barazzetta & Andrew E. Clark & Conchita D’ambrosio, 2017. "Childhood Circumstances and Young Adulthood Outcomes: The Effects of Mothers' Financial Problems," PSE Working Papers halshs-01622334, HAL.
    9. Kreiner, Claus Thustrup & Olufsen, Isabel Skak, 2022. "Is inequality in subjective well-being meritocratic? Danish evidence from linked survey and administrative data," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 203(C), pages 336-367.
    10. Emily McDool, 2018. "Class Setting and Children’s Non-Cognitive Outcomes," Working Papers 2018008, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
    11. Carol Graham, 2005. "The Economics of Happiness," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 6(3), pages 41-55, July.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Frijters, Paul & Johnston, David W. & Shields, Michael A., 2011. "Destined for (Un)Happiness: Does Childhood Predict Adult Life Satisfaction?," IZA Discussion Papers 5819, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Paul Frijters & David W. Johnston & Michael A. Shields, 2014. "Does Childhood Predict Adult Life Satisfaction? Evidence from British Cohort Surveys," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(580), pages 688-719, November.
    3. Almond, Douglas & Currie, Janet, 2011. "Human Capital Development before Age Five," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 15, pages 1315-1486, Elsevier.
    4. Elizabeth M. Caucutt & Lance Lochner & Youngmin Park, 2017. "Correlation, Consumption, Confusion, or Constraints: Why Do Poor Children Perform so Poorly?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 119(1), pages 102-147, January.
    5. Heckman, James J. & Humphries, John Eric & Veramendi, Gregory & Urzua, Sergio, 2014. "Education, Health and Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 8027, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Gabriella Conti, 2013. "The Developmental Origins of Health Inequality," Research on Economic Inequality, in: Health and Inequality, volume 21, pages 285-309, Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
    7. Kautz, Tim & Heckman, James J. & Diris, Ron & ter Weel, Bas & Borghans, Lex, 2014. "Fostering and Measuring Skills: Improving Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills to Promote Lifetime Success," IZA Discussion Papers 8696, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Heckman, James J. & Raut, Lakshmi K., 2016. "Intergenerational long-term effects of preschool-structural estimates from a discrete dynamic programming model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 191(1), pages 164-175.
    9. Elizabeth M. Caucutt & Lance Lochner, 2020. "Early and Late Human Capital Investments, Borrowing Constraints, and the Family," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(3), pages 1065-1147.
    10. Francesconi, Marco & Heckman, James J, 2015. "Symposium on Child Development and Parental Investment: Introduction," Economics Discussion Papers 16868, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
    11. Helmers, Christian & Patnam, Manasa, 2011. "The formation and evolution of childhood skill acquisition: Evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 252-266, July.
    12. Arpin, Emmanuelle & de Oliveira, Claire & Siddiqi, Arjumand & Laporte, Audrey, 2023. "The “Long-arm” of chronic conditions in childhood: Evidence from Canada using linked survey-administrative data," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 50(C).
    13. James J. Heckman, 2012. "The developmental origins of health," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(1), pages 24-29, January.
    14. James J. Heckman & Stefano Mosso, 2014. "The Economics of Human Development and Social Mobility," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 689-733, August.
    15. Thiel, Hendrik & Thomsen, Stephan L., 2013. "Noncognitive skills in economics: Models, measurement, and empirical evidence," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 189-214.
    16. James J. Heckman & Chase O. Corbin, 2016. "Capabilities and Skills," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 342-359, July.
    17. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie & Valentina Duque, 2018. "Childhood Circumstances and Adult Outcomes: Act II," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 56(4), pages 1360-1446, December.
    18. Greta Morando & Lucinda Platt, 2022. "The Impact of Centre‐based Childcare on Non‐cognitive Skills of Young Children," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 89(356), pages 908-946, October.
    19. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Life satisfaction; Cohort data; Childhood; Adult outcomes;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:181:y:2021:i:c:p:290-311. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.