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The long-lasting effects of family background: A European cross-country comparison

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  • Mazzonna, Fabrizio

    () (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA))

Abstract

This paper investigates how and to what extent disparities in family socio-economic status (SES) during childhood have long-lasting effects on old-age health, income and cognition. Further, it examines the variability of these effects across 13 European countries using the Survey on Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) and SHARELIFE that collect retrospective information on respondents’ family backgrounds during their childhoods. The results confirm the crucial role of family SES during childhood in determining old-age outcomes and show large cross-country variability. Education seems to be the main channel for this gradient and explains most of the estimated cross-country differences. We argue that such a result can be explained with the different efforts of the European countries in promoting full time education.

Suggested Citation

  • Mazzonna, Fabrizio, 2011. "The long-lasting effects of family background: A European cross-country comparison," MEA discussion paper series 11245, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:mea:meawpa:11245
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    Cited by:

    1. Bodo Knoll & Nadine Riedel & Eva Schlenker, 2017. "He's a Chip Off the Old Block — The Persistence of Occupational Choices Across Generations," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 31(2), pages 174-203, June.
    2. Mark E. McGovern, 2012. "Don't stress: early life conditions, hypertension and selection into associated risk factors," Working Papers 201223, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    3. Bertoni, Marco, 2015. "Hungry today, unhappy tomorrow? Childhood hunger and subjective wellbeing later in life," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 40-53.
    4. Brunello, Giorgio & Weber, Guglielmo & Weiss, Christoph T., 2012. "Books Are Forever: Early Life Conditions, Education and Lifetime Income," IZA Discussion Papers 6386, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. repec:eee:poleco:v:52:y:2018:i:c:p:36-54 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Till Stowasser & Florian Heiss & Daniel McFadden & Joachim Winter, 2013. "Understanding the SES Gradient in Health Among the Elderly: The Role of Childhood Circumstances," NBER Chapters,in: Discoveries in the Economics of Aging, pages 187-219 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Schaan, Barbara, 2014. "The interaction of family background and personal education on depressive symptoms in later life," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 94-102.
    8. Iris Kesternich & Bettina Siflinger & James P. Smith & Joachim K. Winter, 2014. "The Effects of World War II on Economic and Health Outcomes across Europe," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(1), pages 103-118, March.
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    11. Kesternich, Iris & Siflinger, Bettina M. & Smith, James P. & Winter, Joachim K., 2013. "Individual Behavior as a Pathway between Early-Life Shocks and Adult Health: Evidence from Hunger Episodes in Post-War Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 7713, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Elise S. Brezis & Joël Hellier, 2017. "Social Mobility at the Top and the Higher Education System," Working Papers 2017-04, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
    13. Sarah Gibney & Mark E. McGovern & Erika Sabbath, 2013. "Social Relationships in Later Life: The Role of Childhood Circumstances," Working Papers 201319, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    14. Antonova, Liudmila & Bucher-Koenen, Tabea & Mazzonna, Fabrizio, 2014. "Macroeconomic Crunches During Working Years and Health Outcomes Later in Life," MEA discussion paper series 201420, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    15. repec:wly:econjl:v:127:y:2017:i:600:p:271-296 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Angelini, Viola & Mierau, Jochen O., 2014. "Born at the right time? Childhood health and the business cycle," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 35-43.
    17. Giorgio Brunello & Guglielmo Weber & Christoph T. Weiss, 2017. "Books are Forever: Early Life Conditions, Education and Lifetime Earnings in Europe," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(600), pages 271-296, March.
    18. Biewen, Martin & Tapalaga, Madalina, 2017. "Life-cycle educational choices in a system with early tracking and ‘second chance’ options," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 80-94.
    19. Elisa S. Brezis & Joel Hellier, 2016. "Social Mobility and Higher-Education Policy," Working Papers 095, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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