, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 455–483 | Cite as

Intrayear Household Income Dynamics and Adolescent School Behavior

  • Lisa A. Gennetian
  • Sharon Wolf
  • Heather D. Hill
  • Pamela A. Morris


Economic life for most American households is quite dynamic. Such income instability is an understudied aspect of households’ economic contexts that may have distinct consequences for children. We examine the empirical relationship between household income instability, as measured by intrayear income change, and adolescent school behavior outcomes using a nationally representative sample of households with adolescents from the Survey of Income and Program Participation 2004 panel. We find an unfavorable relationship between income instability and adolescent school behaviors after controlling for income level and a large set of child and family characteristics. Income instability is associated with a lower likelihood of adolescents being highly engaged in school across the income spectrum and predicts adolescent expulsions and suspensions, particularly among low-income, older, and racial minority adolescents.


Household income Income dynamics Adolescent school behavior SIPP data 


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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa A. Gennetian
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sharon Wolf
    • 3
  • Heather D. Hill
    • 4
  • Pamela A. Morris
    • 5
  1. 1.Institute for Human Development and Social ChangeNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.National Bureau of Economic ResearchCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Institute for Research on PovertyUniversity of Wisconsin–MadisonMadisonUSA
  4. 4.Daniel J. Evans School of Public AffairsUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  5. 5.Department of Applied Psychology, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human DevelopmentNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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