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Geography of intergenerational mobility and child development

Author(s): Donnelly, Louis J.; Garfinkel, Irwin; Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne; Wagner, Brandon G.; James, Sarah A.; et al

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Abstract: Recent research by Chetty and colleagues finds that children’s chances of upward mobility are affected by the communities in which they grow up [Chetty R, Hendren N (2016) Working paper 23002]. However, the developmental pathways through which communities of origin translate into future economic gain are not well understood. In this paper we examine the association between Chetty and Hendren's county-level measure of intergenerational mobility and children’s cognitive and behavioral development. Focusing on children from low-income families, we find that growing up in a county with high upward mobility is associated with fewer externalizing behavioral problems by age 3 years and with substantial gains in cognitive test scores between ages 3 and 9 years. Growing up in a county with 1 SD better intergenerational mobility accounts for ∼20% of the gap in developmental outcomes between children from low- and high-income families. Collectively, our findings suggest that the developmental processes through which residential contexts promote upward mobility begin early in childhood and involve the enrichment of both cognitive and social-emotional development.
Publication Date: 29-Aug-2017
Electronic Publication Date: 15-Aug-2017
Citation: Donnelly, Louis, Garfinkel, Irwin, Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne, Wagner, Brandon G, James, Sarah, McLanahan, Sara. (2017). Geography of intergenerational mobility and child development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114 (35), 9320 - 9325. doi:10.1073/pnas.1700945114
DOI: doi:10.1073/pnas.1700945114
ISSN: 0027-8424
EISSN: 1091-6490
Pages: 9320 - 9325
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

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