Parental Earnings and Children's Well-Being and Future Success: An Analysis of the SIPP Matched to SSA Earnings Data
We estimate the association between parental earnings and a wide variety of indicators of child well-being using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) matched to administrative earnings records from the Social Security Administration. We find that the use of longer time averages of parent earnings leads to substantially higher estimated effects compared to using only a single year of parent earnings. This suggests that previous studies may have understated the potential efficacy of income support programs to improve child well-being. Further, policy makers should take into account the attenuation bias when comparing studies that use different time spans to measure parental income. Using 7 year time averages of parent earnings, we show for example, that a doubling of parent earnings reduces the probability of a teenager reporting being in poor health by close to 50 percent and a child having insufficient food by 75 percent.
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