Child development and family resources: Evidence from the second generation of the 1958 British birth cohort

  • Andrew McCulloch
  • Heather E. Joshi
Part of the Population Economics book series (POPULATION)


Studies of American and recently British children suggest that there is a link between family income and child development, in particular that one consequence of child poverty is to hold back cognitive development. This paper investigates the impact of family income, material deprivation, maternal education and child-rearing behaviour on an indicator of cognitive functioning, using British data on children aged 6 to 17 whose mothers are members of the 1958 Birth Cohort Study. The poorer average cognitive functioning among children from the lowest income groups could largely be accounted for, statistically, by the greater material disadvantage of these groups. These analyses provide evidence to suggest that low income has detrimental effects on children’s cognitive functioning through the operation of longer-term material disadvantage, and that these effects may be mitigated by positive parental behaviours.


Poverty deprivation child development 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew McCulloch
    • 1
  • Heather E. Joshi
    • 2
  1. 1.Kings FundLondonUK
  2. 2.Institute of EducationCentre for Longitudinal StudiesLondonUK

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