Early Intervention and Social Mobility. Improving the Opportunities of Disadvantaged Children

Project details

Project manager
Kjetil Telle
University of Stavanger
The Research Council of Norway
Project term
01.01.2009 - 31.12.2013
Project status
Research field

About the Project

Internationally it is well documented that family environments of young children are important predictors of cognitive and behavioral skills, as well as of outcomes later in life, such as education, labor market participation and welfare dependency. In particular, the literature shows that children of families with low income and education have substantially lower prospects for success in life than other children.

In this research project we will investigate how Norway's universal child care system can improve the opportunities of disadvantaged children and increase social mobility. Moreover, we will investigate the importance of early childhood family income for children's educational achievements. Recent research from a number of fields suggests that early childhood is a particularly promising time to intervene in the lives of children, especially for those from disadvantaged families.

We will investigate the role of e.g. universally accessible child care in facilitating children's long-run development, including what children benefit the most and the least from such child care. We will also address whether economic deprivation in early childhood affect educational achievements and intergenerational social mobility, using data from both Norway and the U.S.

We will investigate these questions mostly relying on individual level register data for the whole resident Norwegian population available annually back to the late 1960s. The empirical analyses will utilize a range of child outcomes measured far into the child's adulthood. We will focus on establishing causal inferences, using various instrumental variable and difference-in-difference approaches.