What Money Can'T Buy / Edition 1

What Money Can'T Buy / Edition 1

by Susan E. Mayer
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674587340

ISBN-13: 9780674587342

Pub. Date: 09/15/1998

Publisher: Harvard University Press

Children from poor families generally do a lot worse than children from affluent families. They are more likely to develop behavior problems, to score lower on standardized tests, and to become adults in need of public assistance.

Susan Mayer asks whether income directly affects children's life chances, as many experts believe, or if the factors that cause

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Overview

Children from poor families generally do a lot worse than children from affluent families. They are more likely to develop behavior problems, to score lower on standardized tests, and to become adults in need of public assistance.

Susan Mayer asks whether income directly affects children's life chances, as many experts believe, or if the factors that cause parents to have low incomes also impede their children's life chances. She explores the question of causation with remarkable ingenuity. First, she compares the value of income from different sources to determine, for instance, if a dollar from welfare is as valuable as a dollar from wages. She then investigates whether parents' income after an event, such as teenage childbearing, can predict that event. If it can, this suggests that income is a proxy for unmeasured characteristics that affect both income and the event. Next she compares children living in states that pay high welfare benefits with children living in states with low benefits. Finally, she examines whether national income trends have the expected impact on children. Regardless of the research technique, the author finds that the effect of income on children's outcomes is smaller than many experts have thought.

Mayer then shows that the things families purchase as their income increases, such as cars and restaurant meals, seldom help children succeed. On the other hand, many of the things that do benefit children, such as books and educational outings, cost so little that their consumption depends on taste rather than income. Money alone, Mayer concludes, does not buy either the material or the psychological well-being that children require to succeed.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674587342
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
09/15/1998
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
244
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.51(d)

Table of Contents

1Introduction1
2America's Response to Poverty16
3How Rich and Poor Children Differ39
4Conventional Estimates of the Effect of Income55
5The "True" Effect of Income79
6Income and Material Well-Being97
7Income, Psychological Well-Being, and Parenting Practices114
8More Evidence on the "True" Effect of Income125
9Helping Poor Children143
App. ADescription of the Samples and Variables159
App. BConventional Estimates of the Effect of Income167
App. CThe "True" Effect of Income176
App. DIndex Construction181
App. EMore Evidence on the "True" Effect of Income190
Notes193
References211
Index223

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