A vast cross-discipline literature provides evidence that — in both education and sports — the youngest children in their age group are usually at a disadvantage because of within-group-age maturity differences, known as the ‘relative age effect’. This column asks whether this effect could last into adulthood. Looking at Italian professional footballers’ wages, the evidence suggests that the relative age effect is inescapable.
Luca Fumarco, Giambattista Rossi, 23 April 2016
Moshe Hazan, Hosny Zoabi, 11 December 2015
Economists are increasingly interested in measuring the relationship between women’s work and education and the number of children they have – in part as a response to public policies that aim to empower women. This column assesses the evidence and finds that whereas in the 1990s highly educated women had fewer children than women with a lower education in the US, it is no longer true today.
Daniel Hamermesh, 16 July 2015
Children can generate time-related and financial stress for their parents. This column argues that both parents are likely to experience increased levels of such stress, but new mothers are more likely to experience increases in time-related stress than new fathers. This increase is so costly to the new mother that it would require a doubling of her income in order to offset it.
Angus Deaton, Arthur Stone, 04 March 2014
Study after study has shown that those who live with children are less satisfied with their lives than those who do not. Is there something wrong with these empirical analyses? Or is it that happiness measures are unreliable? This column argues that the results are correct but that comparisons of the wellbeing of parents and non-parents are of no help at all for people trying to decide whether to have children.
Guyonne Kalb, Jan van Ours, 10 June 2013
Young children’s cognitive and non-cognitive development significantly affects outcomes for them later on in life. This column asks what effect reading to young children has. Evidence suggests that children should be regularly read to, especially by their parents. Although reading has little effect on non-cognitive skills, the benefits to cognitive development are huge.
Martin Kocher, Daniela Rützler, Matthias Sutter, Stefan Trautmann, 16 April 2012
According to recent research, children’s self-control is critical for their development. This column explores whether self-control can be taught – and whether governments should do the teaching.
Martin Kocher, 06 May 2011
Is young people’s economic behaviour different from that of adults? Martin Kocher of the University of Munich talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his experimental research with children and adolescents aged 8 to 18 – and the implications for policy debates around smoking, drinking, drugs, obesity and other health and education issues. The interview was recorded at the annual congress of the European Economic Association in Glasgow in August 2010. [Also read the transcript.]
Vincenzo Galasso, 07 November 2008
By analysing the effects of a pension reform in Italy, Vincenzo Galasso of Bocconi University has been able to explore why people might decide to have children – because they like them or to provide security in old age. In an interview recorded at the annual congress of the European Economic Association in Milan in August 2008, he talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his surprising finding that people facing the prospect of reduced pension benefits when they retire have increased their fertility.
Francesco Billari, Vincenzo Galasso, 22 October 2008
Why are couples in industrialized societies having fewer children than they used to? Indeed, why are they deciding to have children at all? The authors of CEPR DP7014 seek to address these issues, focusing on the two main motives for childbearing often cited: children as a 'consumption' vs. an 'investment' good.
Elizabeth Cascio, 06 September 2008
Parents are increasingly delaying their children’s entry into school to give them the advantage of being older than their classmates. But this column says they have it all wrong – children who are relatively older lag in academic achievement.
Sandra Black, Paul Devereux, Kjell Salvanes, 21 June 2008
Do children do better if they start school later? Contrary to the great concerns of many parents, this column says that the age at which kids start school matters little.