Economic Deprivation in Early Childhood And Adult Outcomes: Comparative Evidence from Norwegian Registry Data and the U.S. PSID

Greg J. Duncan, University of California, Irvine
Kjetil Telle, Statistics Norway
Kathleen M. Ziol-Guest, Statistics Norway
Ariel Kalil, University of Chicago

We describe child low-income dynamics in the United States and Norway and estimate associations between low childhood income and adult attainments, measured as late as age 37. Outcomes include years of completed schooling, adult earnings, and percent of adult years with any unemployment. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) and Norwegian Registries we describe cross-country distributional differences and estimate the relationship between our adult outcomes and family economic conditions in early childhood, middle childhood and adolescence. Correlations between childhood income and adult outcomes were generally weaker in the Norwegian data. In both data sets, but larger in the PSID, we find statistically significant unfavorable associations between early childhood poverty and adult earnings. We discuss whether these results could be related to Scandinavian egalitarian welfare model’s ability to mitigate effects of family background and potentially correlated credit constraints imposed by low income in the family of origin.

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Presented in Session 114: Intergenerational Transfers and Social Mobility