Parental wealth in childhood and its relationship with children’s development and predictors of wealth in adult life

For the first time in the history of the UK birth cohort studies, a short measure of parents’ financial assets and debts is available in childhood (Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), age 11) alongside measures of income. This will prove a valuable source of information about social mobility in the future. It also provides an immediate opportunity to understand how parents’ long-term financial position shapes their children’s outcomes from an early stage.This project will use data from NCDS, BCS70 and MCS. Findings from this work will be compared to results from models using measures of family income. As a result, policy conclusions will be drawn, such as relating to measuring child poverty and on appropriate policy levers for improving child outcomes and increasing social mobility.The project will answer the following research questions:

Research questions:

  1. How do the distribution of assets and debts and its components in the 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS), 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) and MCS compare to other surveys with detailed measures of wealth, such as the ONS’s Wealth and Assets Survey?
  2. How does changing housing wealth over time affect children?
  3. How does parental net wealth relate to developmental outcomes (including children’s cognitive development and school attainment, health, and social and emotional development)?
  4. Are there nonlinearities in the relationship between wealth and child development, focussing particularly on those who have high levels of net debt?
  5. Can changes can be drawn to the picture of social mobility when wealth is used as the mid-life outcome rather than income?

October 1, 2015 - December 2018

Project team:

  • Bilal Nasim (Lead, QSS)
  • Ludovica Gambaro (CLS)
  • George Ploubidis (CLS)
  • Alissa Goodman (CLS)
  • Vanessa Moulton (CLS)