Childhood homelessness and adult employment: the role of education, incarceration, and welfare receipt
This paper examines the long-run employment consequences of experiencing homelessness in childhood rather than later in life. We use novel panel data that link survey and administrative data for a sample of disadvantaged adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Our estimation approach pays particular attention to the potential pathways linking childhood homelessness to adult employment. We find that those experiencing homelessness for the first time as children are less likely to be employed. For women, this relationship is largely explained by the lower educational attainment and higher welfare receipt (both in general and in the form of mental illness-related disability payments) of those experiencing childhood homelessness. Higher rates of high school incompletion and incarceration explain some of the link between childhood homelessness and men’s employment; however, childhood homelessness continues to have a substantial direct effect on male employment rates.
KeywordsEmployment Homelessness Welfare receipt Education Incarceration
JEL ClassificationJ1 J2 I2
The authors would like to thank the anonymous referees for helpful comments and suggestions.
Compliance with ethical standards
This study was funded by Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (DP140102614).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Argeriou M, McCarty D, Mulvey K (1995) Dimensions of homelessness. Public Health Rep 110(6):734–741Google Scholar
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (2011) Estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. (ABS cat. No. 3238.0.55.001). ABS, CanberraGoogle Scholar
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (2013) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ labour force outcomes. Australian Social Trends (ABS cat. No. 4102.0). ABS, CanberraGoogle Scholar
- Bjorklund A, Jantti M, Solon G (2007) Nature and nurture in the intergnerational transmission of socioeconomic status: evidence from Swedish children and their biological and rearing parents. Be J Econ Anal Poli 7(2), 4Google Scholar
- Cobb-Clark DA, Ryan C, Sartbayeva A (2012) Taking chances: the effect that growing up on welfare has on the risky behavior of young people. Scand J Econ 114(3):729–755Google Scholar
- Currie J, Tekin E (2012) Understanding the cycle childhood maltreatment and future crime. J Hum Resour 47(2):509–549Google Scholar
- Duffield B (2001) The educational rights of homeless children: policies and practices. Educ Stud 32(3):323–336Google Scholar
- Duncan GJ, Brooks-Gunn J (1995) Consequences of growing up poor. Russell Sage, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Gregg P, Machin S (2000) Child development and success or failure in the youth labor market. In: Blanchflower D, Freeman D (eds) Youth employment and joblessness in advanced countries. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 247–288Google Scholar
- Haveman R, Wolfe B (1995) The determinants of children’s attainments: a review of methods and findings. J Econ Lit 33(4):1829–1878Google Scholar
- Henry M, Cortes A, Morris S, Khadduri J, Culhane DP (2013) The 2013 annual homelessness assessment report (AHAR) to congress: part 1, point-in-time estimates of homelessness. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- Jacobs K, Kemeny J, Manzi T (1999) The struggle to define homelessness: a constructivist approach. In: Hutson S, Clapham D (eds) Homelessness: public policies and private troubles. Cassell, London, pp 11–28Google Scholar
- Martin R (2010) Fallow ground:(re) examining women’s experiences of housing and homelessness. Parity 23(10):13–14Google Scholar
- O’Callaghan B, Dominian L, Evans A, Dix J, Smith R, Williams P, Zimmeck M (1996) Study of homeless applicants. Department of the Environment, LondonGoogle Scholar
- OECD (2014a) Social Expenditure Database (SOCX), (database). http://www.oecd.org/els/social/expenditure. Accessed 26 July 2016
- OECD (2014b) Social expenditure update—social spending is falling in some countries, but in many others it remains at historically high levels. http://www.oecd.org/social/expenditure.htm. Accessed 26 July 2016
- OECD (2014c) Economic Surveys Australia 2014, (report). http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/countries/australia/. Accessed 09 Dec 2016
- O’Flaherty BA (2010) Homelessness as bad luck: implications for research and policy. In: O’Flaherty BA, Ellen IG (eds) How to house the homeless. Russell Sage, New York, pp 143–182Google Scholar
- Randall G, Brown S (1996) From street to home: an evaluation of phase 2 of the rough sleepers initiative. HMSO, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Raphael S (2007) Early incarceration spells and the transition to adulthood. In: Danziger S, Rouse CE (eds) The price of independence: the economics of early adulthood. Russell Sage, New York, pp 278–306Google Scholar
- Tobin K, Murphy J (2013) Addressing the challenges of child and family homelessness. Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk 4(1), 9Google Scholar
- Tseng Y, Wilkins R (2002) Reliance on income support in Australia. Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research. Report prepared for the Commonwealth Department of Family and Community ServicesGoogle Scholar
- US Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) (2010) Opening doors: federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness. US Interagency Council on Homelessness, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- Watson SD (2001) Representing the poor and homeless: innovations in advocacy. American Bar Association, Commission On Homelessness & Poverty, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar