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Understanding the relationship between parental income and multiple child outcomes: a decomposition analysis

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  • Gregg, Paul
  • Propper, Carol
  • Washbrook, Elizabeth

Abstract

In this paper we explore the association between family income and children’s cognitive ability (IQ and school performance), socio-emotional outcomes (self esteem, locus of control and behavioural problems) and physical health (risk of obesity). We develop a decomposition technique that allows us to compare the relative importance of the adverse family characteristics and home environments of low income children in accounting for different outcomes. Using rich cohort data from the UK we find that poor children are disadvantaged at age 7 to 9 across the full spectrum of outcomes, the gradient being strongest for cognitive outcomes and weakest for physical health. We find that some aspects of environment appear to be associated with the full range of outcomes - for example, maternal smoking and breastfeeding, child nutrition, parental psychological functioning. We also find some some aspects of the environment of higher income households hinder child development. We conclude that many aspects of growing up in poverty are harmful to children’s development, and that narrowly-targeted interventions are unlikely to have a significant impact on intergenerational mobility.

Suggested Citation

  • Gregg, Paul & Propper, Carol & Washbrook, Elizabeth, 2007. "Understanding the relationship between parental income and multiple child outcomes: a decomposition analysis," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6196, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:6196
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    Cited by:

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    2. Anne Power & Nicola Serle & Helen Willmot, 2011. "Obstacles and Opportunities: Today’s children, tomorrow’s families," CASE Reports casereport66, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
    3. Rebecca Fauth & Samantha Parsons & Lucinda Platt, 2014. "Convergence or divergence? A longitudinal analysis of behaviour problems among disabled and non-disabled children aged 3 to 7 in England," DoQSS Working Papers 14-13, Quantitative Social Science - UCL Social Research Institute, University College London.
    4. Power, Anne & Serle, Nicola & Willmot, Helen, 2011. "Obstacles and opportunities: today’s children, tomorrow’s families," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 43806, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Fauth, Rebecca & Parsons, Samantha & Platt, Lucinda, 2014. "Convergence or divergence?: a longitudinal analysis of behaviour problems among disabled and non-disabled children aged 3 to 7 in England," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 59659, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Simon Burgess & Eleanor Sanderson & Marcela Umana-Aponte, 2011. "School ties: An analysis of homophily in an adolescent friendship network," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 11/267, The Centre for Market and Public Organisation, University of Bristol, UK.
    7. Mara Violato & Stavros Petrou & Ron Gray & Maggie Redshaw, 2011. "Family income and child cognitive and behavioural development in the United Kingdom: does money matter?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(10), pages 1201-1225, October.
    8. Joanna Crichton & Matthew Hickman & Rona Campbell & Jon Heron & Paddy Horner & John Macleod, 2014. "Prevalence of Chlamydia in Young Adulthood and Association with Life Course Socioeconomic Position: Birth Cohort Study," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 9(8), pages 1-8, August.
    9. Ferreyra, Maria Marta & Liang, Pierre Jinghong, 2012. "Information asymmetry and equilibrium monitoring in education," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 237-254.
    10. Claire Tyler, 2016. "The role of non-cognitive and cognitive skills in accounting for the intergenerational transmission of 'top job' status," DoQSS Working Papers 16-03, Quantitative Social Science - UCL Social Research Institute, University College London.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    child outcomes; income; pathways; mediating factors;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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