Some consequences of adverse events early in life for labor market outcomes may emerge early and others only later in adult life. We use data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe to investigate how early life circumstances—childhood health and socioeconomic status (SES)—are associated with various labor market outcomes over an individual’s entire life cycle. Our main new finding is that these associations change significantly over the life cycle. For instance, the association of childhood SES with lifetime earnings is shown to become stronger over the life cycle and to operate through both working years and annual earnings. We discuss how our findings can explain some of the mixed evidence on these associations in previous literature. Our results also shed light on the potential gains in the different labor market outcomes of public policies that invest in children’s health and parents’ SES.

Early life circumstances. Labor market . Lifetime earnings. Life cycle . SHARE
Household Behavior and Family Economics: General (jel D10), Health and Inequality (jel I14), Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped (jel J14), Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity (jel J24), Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials by Skill, Training, Occupation, etc. (jel J31), Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration (jel O15),
The Journal of Economic Inequality
Department of Applied Economics

Flores, M., García-Gómez, M.P, & Kalwij, A. (2020). Early life circumstances and labor marketoutcomes over the life cycle. The Journal of Economic Inequality. doi:10.1007/s10888-020-09446-7