nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2018‒03‒12
three papers chosen by

  1. The Long-Lasting Effects of Family and Childhood on Adult Wellbeing: Evidence from British Cohort Data By Flèche, Sarah; Lekfuangfu, Warn N.; Clark, Andrew E.
  2. Parental Incarceration and Child Overweight By Amelia Branigan; Christopher Wildeman
  3. A School-to-Prison Pipeline? Locating the Link Between Exclusionary School Discipline and Juvenile Justice Contact By Joel Mittleman

  1. By: Flèche, Sarah; Lekfuangfu, Warn N.; Clark, Andrew E.
    Abstract: To what extent do childhood experiences continue to affect adult wellbeing over the life course? Previous work on this link has been carried out either at one particular adult age or for some average over adulthood. We here use two British birth-cohort datasets (the 1958 NCDS and the 1970 BCS) to map out the time profile of the effect of childhood experiences on adult outcomes, including life satisfaction. We find that the effects of many aspects of childhood do not fade away over time but are rather remarkably stable. In both birth-cohorts, child non-cognitive skills are the strongest predictors of adult life satisfaction at all ages. Of these, emotional health is the strongest. Childhood cognitive performance is more important than good conduct in explaining adult life satisfaction in the earlier NCDS cohort, whereas this ranking is inverted in the more recent BCS.
    Keywords: life satisfaction,cohort data,childhood,adult outcomes
    JEL: A12 D60 I31
    Date: 2018
  2. By: Amelia Branigan (University of Illinois at Chicago); Christopher Wildeman (Cornell University)
    Abstract: While the past four decades have seen unprecedented increases in rates of both childhood obesity and parental incarceration, it remains unknown whether parental incarceration is associated with an increased risk of unhealthy weight among young children. We address this question using a sample of nine-year-olds from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, testing for effects separately by whether the mother, father, or both parents have a history of incarceration. Diverging from findings linking paternal incarceration to negative child behavioral outcomes, here we find no effect of incarcerated fathers on child body mass, while maternal incarceration is associated with significantly lower odds of overweight. Findings are consistent with an emerging body of research suggesting that the effects of maternal incarceration may differ from those of paternal incarceration, and caution against generalizing the direction of behavioral and mental health effects of parental incarceration to child physical health conditions.
    JEL: D63 K42 I12 J13
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Joel Mittleman (Princeton University)
    Abstract: There is growing concern that exclusionary school discipline promotes a "school-to-prison pipeline," disrupting children’s lives in ways that increase their risk of coming into contact with the justice system. Empirical validations of this argument, however, face a fundamental challenge: both school sanctions and legal sanctions respond to the same behavioral risk factors and concentrate in the same disadvantaged contexts. To address this challenge, the current study combines survey data from the Fragile Families and Childhood Wellbeing Study with administrative data on children’s schools and neighborhoods. Following children from birth through adolescence, I demonstrate that children removed from school at a young age face substantially higher risks of later legal entanglement than their peers. Moreover, the consequences of discipline vary by children’s preexisting propensity for sanction. For every outcome considered, exclusionary discipline is most consequential for those children who were otherwise least likely to come into contact with the justice system.
    Keywords: incarceration; incarcerated
    JEL: I21 I28 K42
    Date: 2017

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