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Succeeding Generations

Succeeding Generations: On the Effects of Investments in Children

Robert Haveman
Barbara Wolfe
Copyright Date: 1994
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 344
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  • Book Info
    Succeeding Generations
    Book Description:

    Drawn from an extensive two-decade longitudinal survey of American families,Succeeding Generationstraces a representative group of America's children from their early years through young adulthood. It evaluates the many background factors that are most influential in determining how much education children will obtain, whether or not they will become teen parents, and how economically active they will be when they reach their twenties.Succeeding Generationsdemonstrates how our children's future has been placed at risk by social and economic conditions such as fractured families, a troubled economy, rising poverty rates, and neighborhood erosion. The authors also pinpoint some significant causes of children's later success, emphasizing the importance of parents' education and, despite the apparent loss of time spent with children, the generally positive influence of maternal employment. Haveman and Wolfe supplement their research with a comprehensive review of the many debates among economists, sociologists, developmental psychologists, and other experts on how best to improve the lot of America's children.

    "A state-of-the-art investigation of the determinants of children's success in the United States....Clearly written, highly readable, and compelling."-Contemporary Sociology

    "Haveman and Wolfe are professors of economics who bring sophisticated statistical and econometric techniques to the analysis of the economic and educational success of children as they progress into young adulthood."-Choice

    "This study is one of the most comprehensive of its kind, in part because the researchers collected detailed information about a wide range of children each year for more than two decades." -Wisconsin State Journal

    "The research at the core of this book addresses critically important questions in social important contribution to the literature." -Robert Plotnick, University of Washington

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-278-7
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Robert Haveman and Barbara Wolfe
  4. 1 The Deteriorating Status of America’s Children: Facts and Implications
    (pp. 1-21)

    American children are not doing well. Much has been written about the precarious situation of many of our youngest citizens—and its implications for the nation’s future. There have been a large number of prominent commissions: a House of Representatives Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families; a Committee on Economic Development Task Force; a National Commission on Children created by Congress and the president; and a National Academy of Sciences Committee, which have studied the problem and offered their recommendations.

    In addition, a wide variety of other groups and organizations have studied, written about, and published reports documenting the...

  5. 2 Toward Understanding the Determinants of Children’s Success
    (pp. 22-50)

    Young adults are a relatively little-studied group in contemporary American society. Yet, in a very real sense, they are a pivotally important group. The status and attainments that are observed in young adulthood—say, from ages 18–26—are likely to be a good predictor of the remainder of life’s trajectory. Clearly the prospects for the jobless high-school dropout are quite different than those for the college graduate with an engineering degree.

    While many of today’s youths succeed brilliantly in a variety of life’s dimensions—economic, social, and personal—others fail miserably. We read most often about the failures: high-school...

  6. 3 A Tour of Research Studies
    (pp. 51-94)

    Before delving into our research findings, and to provide a context for them, we make an excursion through the extensive literature on the determinants of success or attainment of children. Contributors to this literature include economists, sociologists, and developmental psychologists. We attempt to integrate the findings from all of these disciplines.

    Encompassing fully all of the social science literature that has explored the causes of children’s success and failure would require a volume of its own. We therefore draw a number of boundaries around our discussion.

    First, we focus on those studies that examine the determinants of children’s success when...

  7. 4 Investments in Children: Some Simple Relationships
    (pp. 95-142)

    The relationships between important background characteristics and factors that reflect parental and social investments in children (e.g., stressful events and neighborhood characteristics) and our indicators of the attainments of children are complex and interrelated. In this chapter, we explore a variety of these relationships through simple statistical measures, such as cross-tabulations and regressions, run on our unweighted data. Our purpose is to examine the relationships of the outcome or attainment variables that we have identified—high-school completion, level of education, enrolling in postsecondary education, having a teenage out-of-wedlock birth, receiving welfare benefits, and being economically inactive at age 24—with...

  8. 5 The Determinants of Educational Attainment: High School and Beyond
    (pp. 143-187)

    Education has long been viewed as the key to socioeconomic success. People with more education tend to have higher wage rates than those with less education, they obtain more generous fringe benefits associated with employment, are less likely to be unemployed, and tend to be in occupations with greater prestige. But the gains go beyond the labor market. Persons with more education tend to have better health, are better able to obtain the number of children they desire, are more efficient consumers, and appear to raise children who themselves are likely to receive more education. They are also more likely...

  9. 6 The Determinants of Teenage Out-of-Wedlock Births and Welfare Recipiency
    (pp. 188-213)

    In this chapter we focus on that aspect of success in young adulthood associated with nonmarital childbearing while a teenager. Because a common pattern for unmarried teenage mothers is to seek and obtain welfare benefits subsequent to having a birth, we also examine this outcome. As with the analyses in prior chapters, we emphasize the parental choices/opportunities, family circumstances, and neighborhood attributes that effect the decisions made by teenage women.

    Implicit in our analysis is the presumption that the state of unmarried teenage motherhood represents lack of success. The high correlation between being a teenage unmarried mother and a wide...

  10. 7 The Determinants of Economic Inactivity
    (pp. 214-236)

    Not surprisingly, a variety of behaviors or indicators of success of young adults are highly correlated.¹ These include dropping out of school, teenage nonmarital pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, and criminal or delinquent activity. Many of the young adults exhibiting these characteristics tend to live in the nation’s central cities. Of these success indicators, teenage pregnancies have increased in recent years (since 1986), while the high-school dropout rate is little changed after declining for two decades. Accurate data on the prevalence of the other behaviors is difficult to obtain, although the rates of substance abuse remain shockingly high, and an...

  11. 8 Our Findings and Some Policy Implications
    (pp. 237-265)

    We began this book by citing evidence that children have not done well in this country over the past three decades. Much has been written about the decline in the status and performance of the nation’s children as a whole, and especially of the precarious situation of many children who grow up in poor, unstable, and single-parent families. Both the overall decline in well-being and the special problems for the nation’s most at risk children have serious implications for the nation’s future.

    The current status of the nation’s children and their prospects for future success are central elements in public...

  12. Appendix A Our Data on Children and Young Adults
    (pp. 266-291)
  13. Appendix B The Econometric Structure of the Bivariate Probit Models of Chapters 5, 6, and 7
    (pp. 292-296)
  14. References
    (pp. 297-312)
  15. Index
    (pp. 313-331)