The Price of Poverty, and How It Changed: The Association between Early-Life Poverty and Adult Economic Status in Sweden 1930 to 2015

Gabriel Brea-Martinez , Centre for Economic Demography-Economic History Lund University
Martin Dribe, Lund University
Maria Stanfors, Lund University

One of the most important features of welfare states, irrespective of orientation and scope, is to fight poverty. It is well-established that being poor during childhood increases the likelihood of being poor as an adult. We know much more about the present than about the past as extant research on the impacts of childhood poverty primarily cover the post-1960 period, and provide limited insights into the changing influence of poverty as societies modernise and welfare states are developed. We analyse the impacts of childhood poverty on economic outcomes of men and women growing up in Southern Sweden between the 1930s and the early 1970s and followed to adulthood between 1968 and 2015. Our preliminary results show persisting impacts of childhood poverty for both men and women, though affecting men more as the impact for women tapers off over time. We show that the mediation effect of education is key to understand the long-term poverty impacts, from a gender perspective.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 39. Human Capital, Wealth and Inter-Generational Transmission