IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The causal effect of family difficulties during childhood on adult labour market outcomes


  • Millemaci, Emanuele
  • Sciulli, Dario


Applying a propensity score matching approach to UK National Child Development Study, we find that experiencing family difficulties during childhood determines a negative and long-lasting impact on adult employment probabilities and wage. Standard econometric techniques and simulation based sensitivity analysis support our findings. The intensity of the disadvantage appears to increase with the number of recorded family difficulties. Moreover, we find that housing and economic problems are responsible for the more serious disadvantage, while disability of family members and disharmony act statistically significantly only if associated with other problems. Finally, the effect appears not to decline over the cohort working life.

Suggested Citation

  • Millemaci, Emanuele & Sciulli, Dario, 2011. "The causal effect of family difficulties during childhood on adult labour market outcomes," MPRA Paper 29026, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:29026

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James P. Smith, 2009. "The Impact of Childhood Health on Adult Labor Market Outcomes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 478-489, August.
    2. A. Smith, Jeffrey & E. Todd, Petra, 2005. "Does matching overcome LaLonde's critique of nonexperimental estimators?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 305-353.
    3. Andrea Ichino & Fabrizia Mealli & Tommaso Nannicini, 2008. "From temporary help jobs to permanent employment: what can we learn from matching estimators and their sensitivity?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(3), pages 305-327.
    4. Lindeboom, Maarten & Llena-Nozal, Ana & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2006. "Disability and Work: The Role of Health Shocks and Childhood Circumstances," CEPR Discussion Papers 5685, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Glewwe, Paul & Jocoby, Hanan & King, Elizabeth M., 1999. "Early childhood nutrition and academic achievement," FCND discussion papers 68, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Black, Dan A. & Smith, J.A.Jeffrey A., 2004. "How robust is the evidence on the effects of college quality? Evidence from matching," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 99-124.
    7. Tommaso Nannicini, 2007. "Simulation-based sensitivity analysis for matching estimators," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 7(3), pages 334-350, September.
    8. Corak, Miles, 2001. "Death and Divorce: The Long-Term Consequences of Parental Loss on Adolescents," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(3), pages 682-715, July.
    9. Le, Anh T. & Miller, Paul W. & Heath, Andrew C. & Martin, Nick, 2005. "Early childhood behaviours, schooling and labour market outcomes: estimates from a sample of twins," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 1-17, February.
    10. Arnaud Chevalier & Tarja K. Viitanen & Tarja K. Viitanen, 2003. "The long-run labour market consequences of teenage motherhood in Britain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 16(2), pages 323-343, May.
    11. Marco Caliendo & Sabine Kopeinig, 2008. "Some Practical Guidance For The Implementation Of Propensity Score Matching," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(1), pages 31-72, February.
    12. Paul Gregg & Stephen Machin, 2000. "Child Development and Success or Failure in the Youth Labor Market," NBER Chapters,in: Youth Employment and Joblessness in Advanced Countries, pages 247-288 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Andrew Healey & Martin Knapp & David Farrington, 2004. "Adult labour market implications of antisocial behaviour in childhood and adolescence: findings from a UK longitudinal study," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(2), pages 93-105.
    14. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
    15. Fletcher, Jason & Wolfe, Barbara, 2008. "Child mental health and human capital accumulation: The case of ADHD revisited," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 794-800, May.
    16. Slade, Eric P. & Wissow, Lawrence S., 2007. "The influence of childhood maltreatment on adolescents' academic performance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 604-614, October.
    17. Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005. "The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
    18. Denise Hawkes & Ian Plewis, 2006. "Modelling non-response in the National Child Development Study," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 169(3), pages 479-491.
    19. Alissa Goodman & Barbara Sianesi, 2005. "Early education and children's outcomes: low long do the impacts last?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 26(4), pages 513-548, December.
    20. Flavio Cunha & James J. HECKMAN, 2009. "Investing in our Young People," Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Sociali, Vita e Pensiero, Pubblicazioni dell'Universita' Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, vol. 117(3), pages 387-418.
    21. Dinand Webbink & Sunčica Vujić & Pierre Koning & Nicholas G. Martin, 2012. "The Effect Of Childhood Conduct Disorder On Human Capital," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(8), pages 928-945, August.
    22. Richard Blundell & Lorraine Dearden & Barbara Sianesi, 2005. "Evaluating the effect of education on earnings: models, methods and results from the National Child Development Survey," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 168(3), pages 473-512.
    23. Anna Sanz-de-Galdeano & Daniela Vuri, 2007. "Parental Divorce and Students' Performance: Evidence from Longitudinal Data," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 69(3), pages 321-338, June.
    24. Glewwe, Paul & Jacoby, Hanan G. & King, Elizabeth M., 2001. "Early childhood nutrition and academic achievement: a longitudinal analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 345-368, September.
    25. Jonathan Gruber, 2004. "Is Making Divorce Easier Bad for Children? The Long-Run Implications of Unilateral Divorce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 799-834, October.
    26. Sascha O. Becker & Andrea Ichino, 2002. "Estimation of average treatment effects based on propensity scores," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 2(4), pages 358-377, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Michael J. Peel, 2014. "Addressing unobserved endogeneity bias in accounting studies: control and sensitivity methods by variable type," Accounting and Business Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(5), pages 545-571, October.

    More about this item


    family difficulties; propensity score matching; labour market outcomes; simulation-based sensitivity analysis; long term causal effects;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:29026. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.