Explaining Children’s Life Outcomes: Parental Socioeconomic Status, Intelligence and Neurocognitive Factors in a Dynamic Life Cycle Model

Elise de Neubourg, Lex Borghans, Karien Coppens, Maria Jansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The goal of the present paper is to introduce a dynamic life cycle model that explains the reproduction of wealth and health over generations by introducing knowledge from cognitive neuroscience into the existing knowledge from the socioeconomic literature. The socioeconomic literature successfully identified the major role of socioeconomic status of parents, both as a direct and indirect effect, in the shaping and intergenerational reproduction of wealth and health. Furthermore, the importance of cognitive abilities as actor in this process has been widely studied in socioeconomic literature. A third factor that has been identified by the socioeconomic discipline is the so-called non-cognitive capabilities. This category, however, lacks a clear definition and seems to be a catchall for a collection of factors. Within the repository of these non-cognitive capabilities the construct of executive functions is an interesting and important contribution from cognitive neuroscience. The multidimensional construct of executive functioning or cognitive control (i.e. planning and formulation of objectives) and monitoring processes (i.e. influences the execution of these goals) is a valuable addition to a framework on reproduction of wealth and health over generations, because executive functions are sensitive to training. Merging insights of the socioeconomic literature and cognitive neuroscience in a life cycle model opens the opportunity of educational initiatives with regard to executive functions to break the intergenerational reproduction of poverty and deprivation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1495-1513
Number of pages19
JournalChild Indicators Research
Volume11
Issue number5
Early online date26 Jun 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

Keywords

  • Child development
  • Inequality
  • Life cycle
  • Executive functions
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Non-cognitive abilities
  • EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS
  • WORKING-MEMORY
  • SELF-CONTROL
  • INTERGENERATIONAL MOBILITY
  • COGNITIVE FUNCTION
  • HEALTH
  • CHILDHOOD
  • ABILITY
  • DETERMINANTS
  • ACHIEVEMENT

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