GUODLCCI: Growing up Unequal? The Origins, Dynamics and Lifecycle Consequences of Childhood Inequalities

About the project

This project analyses the role of families, peers and institutions in affecting the widening of the economic and social inequality that has taken place in many countries. In, particular it focuses on understanding the increase in the socio-economic gradients in behavioural problems, educational and labour market outcomes which also appears to have been stronger for men more than for women. Evidence from several disciplines suggests that while genes partly determine birth endowments, families, peers and institutions play a powerful role in shaping human capital along the lifecycle, through complex and inherently dynamic processes.

Different dimensions of human capital are believed to be malleable at different stages, and to affect the productivity of subsequent investments. The existence of such sensitive periods and dynamic complementarities implies that the impact of shocks and policies in exacerbating or reducing inequalities will crucially depend on the timing at which they operate and on their interactions with the other inputs into the production function of human capital. The consortium aims at shedding new light on the mechanisms behind the rise in inequalities by socio-economic status and gender experienced in three European countries: France, Norway and the United Kingdom.

Research questions

We address this objective by focusing on three inter-twined research questions: 1) How do shocks affecting children and their parents at multiple stages influence the process of human capital accumulation and shape the formation and evolution of inequalities in socioeconomic status and gender? 2) How do public investments in early life shape inequalities in human capital between children from advantaged and disadvantaged backgrounds, and between boys and girls? 3) Do the behaviours of families, peers and institutions in response to shocks and policies reinforce or compensate for their effects on human capital? What are the implications of these responses for the formation of inequalities between boys and girls, children from different socio-economic backgrounds and both within and across generations?

Research team

Prof. K.G. Salvanes
Norwegian School of Economics

Prof. M. Gurgand
Paris School of Economics

Dr G. Conti
Institute for Fiscal Studies

The University of Tartu is Cooperation Partner to this project.