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Monkey see, monkey do? How do shifts in parental socio-economic class influence children's outcomes?

  • Jaimee Stuart

    (Centre for Longitudinal Research, University of Auckland, New Zealand)

  • Gail Pacheco

    (Department of Economics, Faculty of Business and Law, Auckland University of Technology)

  • Mary Hedges

    (Centre for Longitudinal Research, University of Auckland, New Zealand)

  • Susan Morton

    (Centre for Longitudinal Research, University of Auckland, New Zealand)

This paper utilises the Aberdeen Children of the 1950s (ACONF) cohort to investigate how both perinatal factors and changes in a child’s environment impacts on IQ development between the ages of 7 and 11 years. Two methodological frameworks were utilised; (1) linear and logistic regression, the latter of which enabled calculation of odds ratios to predict likelihood of IQ growth above or below the population average, and (2) latent growth curve modelling (LGCM) which permitted estimation of determinants of two latent factors: an intercept and slope (which in this case equated to IQ at age 7 and the predicted growth trajectory in IQ between age 7 and 11). Results from both approaches were consistent. All of the perinatal factors were found to predict initial levels of IQ and some (mother’s age, parity, gestational age, and gender) were found to predict change in IQ over time. Interestingly, after controlling for relevant perinatal factors, we found the effect of a downward trajectory in socio-economic status (SES) was related to lower IQ at age 7, whereas upward mobility in SES was associated with the converse. Consequently, our results illustrate that while perinatal factors are important in determining IQ in early childhood, growth in intelligence does appear to be responsive to changes in a child’s environment, in this case proxied by mobility of paternal SES.

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Paper provided by Auckland University of Technology, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2013-07.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aut:wpaper:201307
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  1. Resul Cesur & Inas Rashad, 2008. "High Birth Weight and Cognitive Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 14524, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Denise Hawkes & Heather Joshi, 2012. "Age at Motherhood and Child Development: Evidence from the UK Millennium Cohort," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 222(1), pages R52-R66, October.
  3. Anne Case & Angela Fertig & Christina Paxson, 2004. "The Lasting Impact of Childhood Health and Circumstance," Working Papers 246, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  4. Anitha George & Lucy Stokes & David Wilkinson, 2012. "Does Early Education Influence Key Stage 1 Attainment? Evidence for England from the Millennium Cohort Study," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 222(1), pages R67-R80, October.
  5. Jason Boardman & Daniel Powers & Yolanda Padilla & Robert Hummer, 2002. "Low birth weight, social factors, and developmental outcomes among children in the United States," Demography, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 353-368, May.
  6. Guang Guo & Kathleen Harris, 2000. "The mechanisms mediating the effects of poverty on children’s intellectual development," Demography, Springer, vol. 37(4), pages 431-447, November.
  7. M. Christopher Auld & Nirmal Sidhu, 2004. "Schooling, cognitive ability, and health," HEW 0405005, EconWPA.
  8. Heather Joshi, 2012. "From Cradle to Career: Evidence from the British Birth Cohort Studies on the Family, Education and Employment – Introduction," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 222(1), pages R1-R6, October.
  9. Angus Armstrong, 2012. "Belief in a Just World and Children's Cognitive Scores," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 222(1), pages R7-R19, October.
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