Advertisement

Demography

, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 913–938 | Cite as

Childhood Circumstances and the Intergenerational Transmission of Socioeconomic Status

Article

Abstract

A large literature has documented the intergenerational transmission of socioeconomic status (SES). However, the mechanisms by which SES transmits across generations are still little understood. This article investigates whether characteristics determined in childhood play an important role in the intergenerational transmission. Using data from the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey, I document the extent to which childhood human capital accounts for the intergenerational SES correlation. My results imply that childhood health and nutrition, cognitive and noncognitive abilities, and early schooling account for between one-third and one-half of the relationship between parents’ SES and their offspring’s SES.

Keywords

Intergenerational transmission Socioeconomic status Human capital Childhood Early life circumstances 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I am grateful to Anne Case, David Lee, Chris Paxson, and Sam Schulhofer-Wohl for their advice and support. I am also indebted to Silvia Helena Barcellos, Deforest McDuff, Ashley Ruth Miller, Francisco Perez Arce Novaro, Heather Royer, Jim Smith, and seminar participants at Princeton University. All remaining errors are mine.

Supplementary material

13524_2012_120_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (216 kb)
(DOC 215 KB)

References

  1. Atkinson, A., Maynard, A., & Trinder, C. (1983). Parents and children: Incomes in two generations. London, UK: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  2. Aughinbaugh, A., & Gittleman, M. (2003). Does money matter? A comparison of the effect of income on child development in the United States and Great Britain. Journal of Human Resources, 38, 416–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baum, C. L. (2003). Does early maternal employment harm child development? An analysis of the potential benefits of leave taking. Journal of Labor Economics, 21, 409–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Becker, G. S., Philipson, T. J., & Soares, R. R. (2005). The quantity and quality of life and the evolution of world inequality. American Economic Review, 95, 277–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Becker, G. S., & Tomes, N. (1976). Child endowments and the quantity and quality of children. Journal of Political Economy, 84, S143–S162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Behrman, J. (1997). Mother’s schooling and child education: A survey (PIER Working Paper 97-25). Philadelphia, PA: Penn Institute for Economic Research.Google Scholar
  7. Behrman, J., & Knowles, J. C. (1997). How strongly is child schooling associated with household income? (PIER Working Paper 97-22). Philadelphia, PA: Penn Institute for Economic Research.Google Scholar
  8. Behrman, J. R, Pollak, R. A., & Taubman, P. (1982). Parental preferences and provision for progeny. Journal of Political Economy, 90, 52–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Behrman, J. R., & Rosenzweig, M. R. (2002). Does increasing women’s schooling raise the schooling of the next generation? American Economic Review, 92, 323–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Black, S. E., Devereux, P. J., & Salvanes, K. G. (2005a). The more the merrier? The effect of family size and birth order on children’s education. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 120, 669–700.Google Scholar
  11. Black, S. E., Devereux, P. J., & Salvanes, K. G. (2005b). Why the apple doesn’t fall far: Understanding intergenerational transmission of human capital. American Economic Review, 95, 437–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Black, S. E., Devereux, P. J., & Salvanes, K. G. (2011). Older and wiser? Birth order and IQ of young men. CESifo Economic Studies, 57, 103–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bowles, S., & Gintis, H. (2002). The inheritance of inequality. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 16(3), 3–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bowles, S., & Nelson, V. I. (1974). The “inheritance of IQ” and the intergenerational reproduction of economic inequality. Review of Economics and Statistics, 56, 39–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Breierova, L., & Duflo, E. (2004). The impact of education on fertility and child mortality: Do fathers really matter less than mothers? (NBER Working Papers 10513). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  16. Caldwell, J. C. (1979). Education as a factor in mortality decline: An examination of Nigerian data. Population Studies, 33, 395–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Case, A., Fertig, A., & Paxson, C. (2005). The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance. Journal of Health Economics, 24, 365–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Case, A., Lubotsky, D., & Paxson, C. (2002). Economic status and health in childhood: The origins of the gradient. American Economic Review, 92, 1308–1334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Chevalier, A. (2004). Parental education and children’s education: A natural experiment (IZA Discussion Papers No. 1153). Bonn, Germany: Institute for the Study of Labor.Google Scholar
  20. Currie, J. (2009). Healthy, wealthy, and wise: Socioeconomic status, poor health in childhood, and human capital development. Journal of Economic Literature, 47, 87–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Currie, J., & Madrian, B. C. (1999). Health, health insurance and the labor market. In O. Ashenfelter, & D. Card (Eds.), Handbook of labor economics (Vol. 3C, pp. 3309–3416). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Datar, A., Kilburn, M. R., & Loughran, D. S. (2010). Endowments and parental investments in infancy and early childhood. Demography, 47, 145–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Duflo, E. (2000). Grandmothers and granddaughters: Old age pension and intra-household allocation in South Africa (NBER Working Paper 8061). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  24. Eriksson, T., Bratsberg, B., & Raaum, O. (2005). Earnings persistence across generations: Transmission through health? (Memorandum 35/2005). Oslo, Norway: Oslo University, Department of Economics.Google Scholar
  25. Filmer, D., & Pritchett, L. (1999). The effect of household wealth on educational attainment: Evidence from 35 countries. Population and Development Review, 25, 85–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Glewwe, P. (1999). Why does mother’s schooling raise child health in developing countries? Evidence from Morocco. Journal of Human Resources, 34, 124–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Glewwe, P., & Miguel, E. A. (2008). The impact of child health and nutrition on education in less developed countries. In T. P. Schultz, & J. Strauss (Eds.), Handbook of development economics (Vol. 4, pp. 3561–3606). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  28. Grantham-McGregor, S. (2007). Early child development in developing countries. Lancet, 369, 824.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Grantham-McGregor, S., Cheung, Y. B., Cueto, S., Glewwe, P., Richter, L., & Strupp, B. (2007). Developmental potential in the first 5 years for children in developing countries. Lancet, 369, 60–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Grantham-McGregor, S. M., Powell, C. A., Walker, S. P., & Himes, J. H. (1991). Nutritional supplementation, psychosocial stimulation, and mental development of stunted children: The Jamaican Study. Lancet, 338, 1–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Guo, G., & Harris, K. M. (2000). The mechanisms mediating the effects of poverty on children’s intellectual development. Demography, 37, 431–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Guthrie, G. M., Tayag, A. H., & Jacobs, P. J. (1977). The Philippine non-verbal intelligence test. Journal of Social Psychology, 102, 3–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Handa, S. (1999). Maternal education and child height. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 47, 421–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hansen, K. T., Heckman, J. J., & Mullen, K. J. (2004). The effect of schooling and ability on achievement test scores. Journal of Econometrics, 121(1–2), 39–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Heckman, J. J. (2006). The skill formation and the economics of investing in disadvantaged children. Science, 312, 1900–1902.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Heckman, J. J., & Masterov, D. V. (2007). The productivity argument for investing in young children. Review of Agricultural Economics, 29, 446–493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Heckman, J. J., Stixrud, J., & Urzua, S. (2006). The effects of cognitive and noncognitive abilities on labor market outcomes and social behavior. Journal of Labor Economics, 24, 411–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Martorell, R., Behrman, J. R., Flores, R., & Stein, A. D. (2005). Rationale for a follow-up study focusing on economic productivity. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 26(2), S5–S14.Google Scholar
  39. Mulligan, C. B. (1999). Galton versus the human capital approach to inheritance. Journal of Political Economy, 107, S184–S224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Paxson, C., & Schady, N. (2007). Cognitive development among young children in Ecuador: The roles of wealth, health, and parenting. Journal of Human Resources, 42, 49–84.Google Scholar
  41. Plug, E. (2004). Estimating the effect of mother’s schooling on children’s schooling using a sample of adoptees. American Economic Review, 94, 358–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Plug, E., & Vijverberg, W. (2005). Does family income matter for schooling outcomes? Using adoptees as a natural experiment. Economic Journal, 115, 879–906.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ruhm, C. J. (2004). Parental employment and child cognitive development. Journal of Human Resources, 39, 155–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sacerdote, B. (2007). How large are the effects from changes in family environment? A study of Korean American adoptees. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 122, 119–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Smith, J. P. (1999). Healthy bodies and thick wallets: The dual relation between health and economic status. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 13, 145–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Smith, J. R., Brooks-Gunn, J., & Klebanov, P. (1997). Consequences of living in poverty for young children’s cognitive and verbal ability and early school achievement. In G. J. Duncan, & J. Brooks-Gunn (Eds.), Consequences of growing up poor (pp. 132–189). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  47. Solon, G. (1999). Intergenerational mobility in the labor market. In O. Ashenfelter, & D. Card (Eds.), Handbook of labor economics (Vol. 3A, pp. 1761–1800). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Taylor, B. A., Dearing, E., & McCartney, K. (2004). Incomes and outcomes in early childhood. Journal of Human Resources, 39, 980–1007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Thomas, D., Strauss, J., & Henriques, M.-H. (1991). How does mother’s education affect child height? Journal of Human Resources, 26, 183–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Waldfogel, J., Han, W.-J., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2002). The effects of early maternal employment on child cognitive development. Demography, 39, 369–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RANDSanta MonicaUSA

Personalised recommendations