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When the Kids Are Not Alright: Essays on Childhood Disadvantage and Its Consequences
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8302-8145
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis consists of three self-contained essays on childhood disadvantage and its consequences in Sweden.

A Longitudinal Look at Child Poverty Using Both Monetary and Non-monetary Approaches. In this paper, we broaden the analysis of child poverty by using both monetary and non-monetary measures of poverty and by comparing these over time. We use a composite of questionnaire answers from children regarding possession of socially perceived necessities and participation in social activities to develop two non-monetary child-centric concepts of disadvantage: material deprivation and social exclusion. The empirical analysis is based on two cross-sections and a panel of children in the Swedish Level-of-Living Survey matched with parental survey data and administrative income records. Consistent with previous findings, we find that relative income poverty among children increases significantly between the year 2000 and 2010. The fraction of children that is disadvantaged in two dimensions, monetary and non-monetary, is relatively small (0.9–7.0 percent) but increases significantly during the period of study. The modest size of the overlap suggests that our measures capture different dimensions of disadvantage, thereby pointing to the importance of alternative poverty indicators. We also find that income status in childhood is the best predictor of socio-economic outcomes in young adulthood.

The Aspirations-attainment Paradox of Immigrant Children: A Social Networks Approach. Using two independent and nationally representative samples of Swedish children, I compare the university aspirations and expectations between children of immigrants and children of natives. In line with existing findings, I find that children with foreign-born parents have significantly higher aspirations and expectations than their native-majority peers with and without conditioning on school performance, academic potential and friendship networks. I do not find any evidence of a significant immigrant-non-immigrant aspirations-expectations gap; immigrant children's aspirations and expectations are not less aligned than those of their native-majority peers. This result suggests that immigrant-native disparities in school outcomes are not driven by an aspirations-expectations gap. Finally, the results reveal significant gender differences. Native-majority girls with academic potential are, for example, more likely to express an aspirations-expectations gap. Moreover, having only female friends makes one less likely to belong to the aforementioned category.

The Key Player in Disruptive Behavior: Whom Should We Target to Improve the Classroom Learning Environment? In this paper, I address the question: Who is the individual that exerts the greatest negative influence on the classroom learning environment? To answer this question, I invoke the key player model from network economics and use self-reported friendship data in order to solve the methodological problems associated with identifying and estimating peer effects. I overcome the issue of endogenous group formation by using the control function approach where I simultaneously estimate network formation and outcomes. The results show that the typical key player scores well on language and cognitive ability tests and is not more likely to be a boy than a girl. I also find evidence that removing the key player has a significantly larger effect on aggregate disruptiveness in a network than removing the most disruptive individual, implying that policy aimed at the most active individual could be inadequate.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: The Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University , 2017.
Series
Swedish Institute for Social Research, ISSN 0283-8222 ; 98
Keyword [en]
childhood disadvantage, social networks, education, disruptiveness, income poverty, immigrant children, aspirations, Sweden
National Category
Economics
Research subject
Economics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-147718ISBN: 978-91-7797-099-6 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7797-100-9 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-147718DiVA, id: diva2:1153182
Public defence
2017-12-15, sal G Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Svante Arrhenius väg 20 C, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-11-22 Created: 2017-10-27 Last updated: 2017-11-23Bibliographically approved

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