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Parental Earnings and Children's Well-Being and Future Success: An Analysis of the SIPP Matched to SSA Earnings Data


  • Bhashkar Mazumder
  • Jonathan Davis


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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  • Bhashkar Mazumder & Jonathan Davis, 2011. "Parental Earnings and Children's Well-Being and Future Success: An Analysis of the SIPP Matched to SSA Earnings Data," Working Papers 11-12, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:11-12

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bhashkar Mazumder, 2005. "Fortunate Sons: New Estimates of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States Using Social Security Earnings Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 235-255, May.
    2. Steven Haider & Gary Solon, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variation in the Association between Current and Lifetime Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1308-1320, September.
    3. Bhashkar Mazumder, 2001. "The mis-measurement of permanent earnings: new evidence from Social Security earnings data," Working Paper Series WP-01-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    4. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2006. "The Black-White Test Score Gap Through Third Grade," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 249-281.
    5. Jesse Rothstein & Nathan Wozny, 2013. "Permanent Income and the Black-White Test Score Gap," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(3), pages 510-544.
    6. Chul-In Lee & Gary Solon, 2009. "Trends in Intergenerational Income Mobility," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(4), pages 766-772, November.
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