The Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty in Industrialized Countries

35 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2011

See all articles by Stephen P. Jenkins

Stephen P. Jenkins

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Social Policy and Administration; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER)

Thomas Siedler

University of Hamburg - Faculty of Business, Economics, and Social Sciences; DIW Berlin; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); University of Essex

Date Written: April 1, 2007

Abstract

This paper reviews research about the intergenerational transmission of poverty in industrialized countries. In order to make our survey manageable, we restrict attention to studies that consider the relationship between parental poverty (or ‘income’) during childhood and later-life outcomes; we do not explicitly consider the impact of other family background variables such as parental education. The general message is that growing up poor has a deleterious impact on later-life chances, and that this impact is not wholly explained by other factors that are themselves correlated with childhood poverty. At the same time, the studies also show that one should be cautious about drawing more specific conclusions. For example, the degree of intergenerational persistence appears to vary depending on the definition of the outcome variable, and different estimation methods provide a range of estimates. In addition, most of research about intergenerational links has been undertaken using US data, and it is not clear that any specific conclusions should carry over to another country with very different social norms and institutions including e.g. differences in labour market regulation, and in systems of education and social security benefits. However we conclude that, broadly speaking, the analytical framework that has been used for high-income countries can also be applied to low-income countries.

Keywords: intergenerational transmission of poverty, data, childhood poverty, USA, south-north

Suggested Citation

Jenkins, Stephen P. and Siedler, Thomas, The Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty in Industrialized Countries (April 1, 2007). Chronic Poverty Research Centre Working Paper No. 75. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1752983 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1752983

Stephen P. Jenkins (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Social Policy and Administration ( email )

Houghton Street
London, England WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom
+44 120 687 3374 (Phone)
+44 120 687 3151 (Fax)

Thomas Siedler

University of Hamburg - Faculty of Business, Economics, and Social Sciences ( email )

Von-Melle-Park 9
Hamburg, 20146
Germany

DIW Berlin ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

University of Essex ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

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