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Child development and family resources: Evidence from the second generation of the 1958 British birth cohort


  • Heather E. Joshi

    () (Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Institute of Education, London, WC1H 0AL, UK)

  • Andrew McCulloch

    () (Kings Fund, 11-13 Cavendish Square, London WC1 0AG, UK)


Studies of American and recently British children suggest that there is a link between family income and child development, in particular that one consequence of child poverty is to hold back cognitive development. This paper investigates the impact of family income, material deprivation, maternal education and child-rearing behaviour on an indicator of cognitive functioning, using British data on children aged 6 to 17 whose mothers are members of the 1958 Birth Cohort Study. The poorer average cognitive functioning among children from the lowest income groups could largely be accounted for, statistically, by the greater material disadvantage of these groups. These analyses provide evidence to suggest that low income has detrimental effects on children's cognitive functioning through the operation of longer-term material disadvantage, and that these effects may be mitigated by positive parental behaviours.

Suggested Citation

  • Heather E. Joshi & Andrew McCulloch, 2002. "Child development and family resources: Evidence from the second generation of the 1958 British birth cohort," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 15(2), pages 283-304.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:15:y:2002:i:2:p:283-304
    Note: Received: 31 July 1999/Accepted: 26 September 2000

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Peter George & Peter Kuhn, 1994. "The Size and Structure of Native-White Wage Differentials in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 27(1), pages 20-42, February.
    2. Kimmel, Jean, 1997. "Rural wages and returns to education: Differences between whites, blacks, and American Indians," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 81-96, February.
    3. repec:lan:wpaper:1016 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:lan:wpaper:1092 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Bradley, Steve & Taylor, Jim, 1998. "The Effect of School Size on Exam Performance in Secondary Schools," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 60(3), pages 291-324, August.
    6. Neal, Derek A & Johnson, William R, 1996. "The Role of Premarket Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 869-895, October.
    7. 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.
    8. Hanushek, Eric A, 1992. "The Trade-Off between Child Quantity and Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 84-117, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Massimiliano BRATTI, 2002. "Parents' Current Income, Long-term Characteristics and Children's Education: Evidence from the 1970 British Cohort," Working Papers 174, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
    2. Prevoo, Tyas & ter Weel, Bas, 2014. "The Effect of Family Disruption on Children's Personality Development: Evidence from British Longitudinal Data," IZA Discussion Papers 8712, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Duc, Le Thuc, 2011. "Height and Cognitive Achievement of Vietnamese Children," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(12), pages 2211-2220.
    4. repec:pri:cheawb:paxson_schady_childrenecuador is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Salamanca, Nicolas & Zhu, Anna, 2016. "Parenting Style as an Investment in Human Development," IZA Discussion Papers 9686, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Antecol, Heather & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A., 2013. "Do psychosocial traits help explain gender segregation in young people's occupations?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 59-73.
    7. Simon Burgess & Marcela Umaña-Aponte, 2011. "Raising your sights: the impact of friendship networks on educational aspirations," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 11/271, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    8. Laura Valadez Martinez, 2014. "Bridging the Gap: Conceptual and Empirical Dimensions of Child Wellbeing in Rural Mexico," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 116(2), pages 567-591, April.
    9. repec:iae:iaewps:wp2016n3 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Poverty · deprivation · child development;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General


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