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The Importance of Family Income in the Formation and Evolution of Non-Cognitive Skills in Childhood

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  • Jason M. Fletcher
  • Barbara Wolfe

Abstract

There is a well known positive association between family income and children's development, including health and academic performance. This relationship is a potentially importance factor in the intergenerational transmission of socioeconomic status and has been shown to be a robust finding across countries and time periods. In contrast, much less is known about the relationship between family income and other domains of children's development, such as noncognitive (or socio-emotional) skill formation. This is an important gap, as these non-academic skills have been hypothesized to be a critical link between early outcomes and adult socioeconomic status. Indeed, multiple successful interventions targeted to young children seem to primarily improve long-term outcomes by enhancing non-academic skills. This paper presents new evidence of the importance of family income in the formation and evolution of children's non-cognitive skills using a recent panel dataset from the US that tracks children between Kindergarten and 5th grade. Findings suggest an important divergence in noncognitive skills based on family income that accumulates over time and does not seem to be explained by children's health status differences.

Suggested Citation

  • Jason M. Fletcher & Barbara Wolfe, 2012. "The Importance of Family Income in the Formation and Evolution of Non-Cognitive Skills in Childhood," CEPR Discussion Papers 665, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:665
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    File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/cepr/DP665.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Dejan Kovac, 2017. "Do Fathers Matter?: Paternal Mortality and Children's Long-Run Outcomes," Working Papers 609, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    2. Das, Tirthatanmoy & Polachek, Solomon, 2017. "Micro Foundations of Earnings Differences," IZA Discussion Papers 10922, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Gaitz, Jason & Schurer, Stefanie, 2017. "Bonus Skills: Examining the Effect of an Unconditional Cash Transfer on Child Human Capital Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 10525, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Dasgupta, Utteeyo & Mani, Subha & Sharma, Smriti & Singhal, Saurabh, 2017. "Cognitive, Socioemotional and Behavioral Returns to College Quality," IZA Discussion Papers 10701, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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