Taking Chances: The Effect that Growing Up on Welfare Has on the Risky Behavior of Young People

27 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2012

See all articles by Deborah A. Cobb-Clark

Deborah A. Cobb-Clark

School of Economics, University of Sydney; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Chris Ryan

University of Melbourne

Anastasia Sartbayeva

Australian National University - SPEAR

Date Written: September 2012

Abstract

In this paper, we analyze the effect that growing up in a family with a history of welfare receipt has on young people's engagement in a variety of social and health risks. Unique administrative data matched to survey data for 18‐year‐olds and their mothers allow us to evaluate the effect of welfare receipt over the course of a young person's childhood. Much of the apparent link between family welfare history and risk taking disappears once we control for the effects of family structure, mothers’ own risk taking, and mothers’ investments in their children. We find no evidence that growing up on welfare causes young people to engage in risky behavior.

Keywords: Intergenerational effects, social and health risks, socio‐economic disadvantage, welfare receipt

JEL Classification: I38, J13, J18

Suggested Citation

Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. and Ryan, Chris and Sartbayeva, Anastasia, Taking Chances: The Effect that Growing Up on Welfare Has on the Risky Behavior of Young People (September 2012). The Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Vol. 114, Issue 3, pp. 729-755, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2134683 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9442.2012.01704.x

Deborah A. Cobb-Clark (Contact Author)

School of Economics, University of Sydney ( email )

606 Social Sciences Bldg. (A02)
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
61435061387 (Phone)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Chris Ryan

University of Melbourne ( email )

185 Pelham Street
Carlton, Victoria 3053
Australia

Anastasia Sartbayeva

Australian National University - SPEAR ( email )

Economics Program, RSSS
Building 9
Canberra, ACT 0200
Australia
+612 6125 0182 (Fax)

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