The Long-run Impact of Early Life Events

December 13-14, 2007
Ford School of Public Policy, Weill Hall
Ann Arbor, MI

Sponsors and Organizers

This workshop was sponsored by the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

This event was coordinated by Bob Schoeni at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, Rucker Johnson at University of California at Berkeley, and Ariel Kalil at the Harris School at the University of Chicago.

Background

There is growing awareness of the impact of early childhood events on a wide range of long run outcomes. On December 14 and 15, 2007, the National Poverty Center sponsored a workshop on the Long-run Impacts of Early Life Events to give leading researchers the opportunity to engage in a broad discussion of new findings and avenues for future research. The ten papers presented over the course of two days covered both pre- and post- natal influences on later outcomes, and considered biological, social, and economics causes and effects.

Several authors used creative research designs to explore “fetal origins hypothesis” that adverse conditions in utero can have long-lasting biological impacts that affect health, education, and other outcomes. By comparing siblings or studying differences between children who were exposed to discrete, well-identified events like maternal fasting during Ramadan, these authors studied outcomes including life expectancy, health, educational attainment, and employment. Evidence from these wide-ranging studies suggests that poor prenatal environments or low birth weights are associated with poor adult health, lower educational attainment, and lower probabilities of employment.

Another line of research examined the effects of social and educational experiences during early childhood on long run outcomes. This literature takes a broad view of the formative influences; papers presented at the NPC conference studied parental health, family income, and the Perry Preschool program. These and other postnatal factors have substantial impacts on future health, educational attainment, employment and incarceration rates, and income, though the impacts seem to dissipate somewhat with time.

The papers presented at the NCP Workshop highlighted the importance of this emerging area of study. Using diverse methods, researchers are reaching consensus on the notion that early life events have profound and lasting impacts on a variety of outcomes. Further research will continue to shed light on the scope of these impacts and may suggest policies to improve long run outcomes.

Agenda and Conference Papers

December 13, 2007
Morning Session – 3rd Floor Conference Room
 
10:00-10:30 Introductions and Overview

10:30-11:30 Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation. PDF Document Flavio Cunha and Jim Heckman

11:30-12:30 Short, Medium, and Long Term Consequences of Poor Infant Health: An Analysis using Siblings and Twins. PDF Document Phil Oreopoulos, Mark Stabile, Randy Walld, and Leslie Roos

12:30-1:30 Lunch
 
Afternoon Session – O’Neill Classroom, Room 1230, 1st Floor
1:30-2:30 Separated at Girth: Estimating the Long-Run and Intergenerational Effects of Birthweight using Twins. PDF Document Heather Royer

2:30-3:30 The Influence of Early-Life Events on Human Capital, Health Status, and Labor Market Outcomes Over the Life Course. PDF Document Rucker Johnson and Bob Schoeni

3:30-3:45 Break

3:45-4:45 Early Poverty and Later Life Attainment, Behavior, and Health. PDF Document Greg Duncan, Ariel Kalil, and Kathleen Ziol-Guest

4:45-5:45 Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Is there a Causal Relationship Between Child Health and Human Capital Development? PDF Document Janet Currie

 
December 14, 2007
O’Neill Classroom, Room 1230, 1st Floor
8:30-9:30 Black-White Differences in Wealth Mobility and Volatility. PDF Document Dalton Conley

9:30-9:45 Break

9:45-10:45 The Healthy Bird Gets the Worm: Childhood Health and Labor Market Outcomes over the Work Career. PDF Document Steven Haas, Maria Glymour, and Lisa Berkman

10:45-11:00 Break

11:00-12:00 TBA

12:00-1:00 Lunch

1:00-3:00 A Reanalysis of the Perry Preschool Program. James Heckman, Seong Moon, Rodrigo Pinto, Petr Savelev and Adam Yavitz

3:00 End
 
*Author presenting the paper is listed in italics.