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Demography. 1991 Feb;28(1):133-57.

Childhood events and circumstances influencing high school completion.

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Department of Economics La Follette Institute, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706.


This paper is an empirical exploration of the effects of a variety of family and economic circumstances experienced during childhood on one indicator of success in young adulthood--high school completion. The estimates suggest that parental education and mother's work are positive and significant determinants of high school completion, whereas growing up in a family with more children (who compete for resources), being persistently poor and on welfare, and moving one's residence as a child have significant negative impacts on high school completion. The effects of some family stress and economic events differ depending on the age of the child when they occur. The results support the economic model of investment in children, as well as the welfare culture and socialization models.

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