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Intergenerational persistence of poverty in the UK: empirical analysis of economic outcomes for people born from the 1950s to the 1980s

Uzuki, Yuka (2010) Intergenerational persistence of poverty in the UK: empirical analysis of economic outcomes for people born from the 1950s to the 1980s. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Further income redistribution is an obvious way of alleviating child poverty. However, whether this effectively improves life chances of children growing up in poverty is debated, and there might be less expensive ways of doing so. Drawing on competing models explaining intergenerational persistence of poverty, this thesis investigates some of the links between childhood poverty and later economic outcomes in the UK. Aiming to identify policy areas where intervention would be helpful, it examines continuities and changes over time in these links and mechanisms that create them, analysing longitudinal data from people born in 1958, 1970 and the 1980s. This thesis shows that a negative effect of childhood poverty on adult earnings remains for the 1970 cohort (although not for the 1958 cohort), even after controlling for educational attainment in particular, and for other individual and family characteristics. This appears to be a reason that intergenerational persistence of poverty is stronger for the younger cohort. Teenage occupational aspirations do not seem to explain this residual effect, but unemployment in early working life contributes to it. An original contribution is the investigation of different effects of childhood poverty on later onset of and exit from unemployment, and the relative strength of the effects of parental worklessness and income poverty on these outcomes. A main finding is that income poverty more strongly affects the rapid onset of unemployment following employment, although parental worklessness appears to be associated with the slow exit from unemployment. The results suggest that policy interventions in education or (potentially cheaper) interventions affecting youth aspirations would not completely remove the disadvantage experienced by children growing up in poverty. There is therefore evidence that further income redistribution would be beneficial in improving their future life chances, while the findings suggest that the design of income redistribution also matters.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2010 Yuka Uzuki
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Supervisor: Hills, John

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