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  • Author or Editor: Yekaterina Chzhen x
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While there is a rich literature on the socio-economic gaps in children’s average cognitive test scores in the United Kingdom, there is less evidence on the differences in children’s transitions along the ability distribution. Using data from five sweeps of the UK Millennium Cohort Study at the ages of 9 months, 3 years, 5 years, 7 years and 11 years, this paper analyses the role of household income, relative to other socio-economic factors, in influencing children’s chances of moving up or down the age-specific cognitive ability distribution as they grow older. Descriptive findings indicate a high level of variability between ages 3 and 11, but children from income-poor households are more likely to get trapped in the bottom of the age-specific cognitive ability distribution. Event history analysis shows that household income protects children from falling into the lowest-performing group without necessarily helping existing low performers improve. In contrast, parental education both protects children from slipping into low performance and helps them move up if they fall into it. While this is, perhaps, disheartening because household income is more amenable to policy than parental education, there is potential for income-enhancing policies to protect children from scoring poorly in the first place.

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The new universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for ‘reducing at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions’ by 2030. This paper proposes and evaluates a child-specific multidimensional poverty measure using data from ad hoc material deprivation modules of the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC). The proposed measure can be used both for national and EU-wide SDG monitoring without replacing either national or EU-wide indices of material deprivation.

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While research has investigated the effects of the Great Recession on the Irish economy using economic indicators or cross-sectional household-level data, this research note applies group-based multitrajectory modelling to provide a more nuanced approach. Using nationally representative, longitudinal data from the Growing Up in Ireland study, we analyse patterns in three common measures of economic well-being (financial strain; disposable income; material deprivation) across Irish households in the period leading up to, during and after the Great Recession, and subsequently, break down the characteristics for each group of trajectories. We identify six distinct trajectory clusters, which all indicate declining income and increasing financial strain from the start to the height of the economic depression. However, trajectory groupings show that experiences were far from uniform, with previous economic well-being and demographic characteristics shaping the household experience. Implications for future research are discussed.

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The living standards of families with children in high-income countries are largely determined by what parents are able to earn. The total earnings will depend on the number of people contributing earnings, their wage rates and the number of hours they are able to work. Their earned income will then be affected by direct taxes – the income tax and social security contributions that they have to pay. Their actual standard of living will also be determined by how much they receive in cash benefits and how much they have to pay for housing, education and health and childcare services. In order to understand and compare family living standards across countries, we need to be able to take account of all these factors.

For single-parent families, there is the complexity of the triple bind; many face inadequate resources, employment and policy. It is more difficult for single parents with sole caring responsibilities, especially with young children, to work and to work full time. Even if single parents are working full time, it remains difficult for them to earn an adequate wage to support their families (Horemans & Marx, Chapter Nine in this book). The caring responsibilities may also affect their type of work and rate of pay. The majority of single-parent families are headed by women, who are already at risk of lower wages due to gendered pay differentials. In the absence of a partner, single parents are more likely to rely on formal childcare arrangements, which they may have to pay for.

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