Child well-being over the life course - child poverty, child care and the importance of family background

Project leader

Funding source

Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2013
End date: 31/12/2015
Funding: 2650000 SEK


Income inequality in Sweden has increased substantially from its historical lows in the early 1980s (OECD, 2011). One aspect that may be especially worrying is that the relative poverty rate of children more than tripled, from about 4 percent in 1985 to about 13 percent in 2009 (Björklund and Jäntti, 2011). One aim of this project is to gain a firm understanding of the mechanisms that underlie this increase. We examine the drivers of increased child poverty in Sweden, especially what kind of changes in the labour market and taxes and transfers account for increased poverty. We also examine the likely consequences for later outcomes of growing up in a poor household in Sweden.

A major institutional change is the rapid expansion of public childcare starting in the 1970s. The consequences of this large reform on children's well-being have been the subject of very little evaluation. We address a number of questions regarding its effects. Did the expansion of the share of children in public daycare - from close to zero in the late 1960s to close to all by the late 1990s - affect learning achievement? Did the reform contribute to an equalization of outcomes of children from different family backgrounds? We also examine the overall importance of family background in Sweden in several dimensions.

Our proposed research project thus focuses on child well-being across the life course and how institutions, labour markets and family structure affect those outcomes.

Last updated on 2017-24-03 at 12:52