Raising the Future

Kevin Lewis

May 28, 2023

Elementary disruptions? Exploring residential move type, timing, and duration of implications during middle childhood
Julius Anastasio & Tama Leventhal
Child Development, forthcoming 


Moving is common during middle childhood, but links between move type and children's development are less well understood. Using nationally-representative, longitudinal data (2010–2016) of ~9900 U.S. kindergarteners (52% boys, 51.48% White, 26.11% Hispanic/Latino, 10.63% Black, 11.78% Asian/Pacific Islander), we conducted multiple-group fixed-effects models estimating associations of within- and between-neighborhood moves, family income, and children's achievement and executive function, testing whether associations persisted or varied by developmental timing. Analyses suggest important spatial and temporal dimensions of moving during middle childhood: between-neighborhood moves had stronger associations than within-neighborhood moves, earlier moves benefited development whereas later moves did not, and associations persisted with significant effect sizes (cumulative Hedges' g = −0.09–1.35). Research and policy implications are discussed.

Children's Indirect Exposure to the U.S. Justice System: Evidence from Longitudinal Links between Survey and Administrative Data
Keith Finlay, Michael Mueller-Smith & Brittany Street
NBER Working Paper, May 2023 


Children's indirect exposure to the justice system through biological parents or co-resident adults is both a marker of their own vulnerability and a measure of the justice system's expansive reach in society. Estimating the size of this population for the United States has historically been hampered by inadequate data resources, including the inability to (1) observe non-incarceration events, (2) follow children throughout their childhood, and (3) measure adult non-biological parent cohabitants. To overcome these challenges, we leverage billions of restricted administrative and survey records linked with Criminal Justice Administrative Records System data, and find substantially larger exposure rates than previously reported: prison - 9% of children born between 1999-2005, felony conviction - 18%, and any criminal charge - 39%. Charge exposure rates exceed 60% for Black, American Indian, and low-income children. While broader definitions reach a more expansive population, strong and consistently negative correlations with childhood well-being suggest these remain valuable predictors of vulnerability. Finally, we document substantial geographic variation in exposure, which we leverage in a movers design to estimate the effect of living in a high-exposure county during childhood. We find that children moving into high-exposure counties are more likely to experience post-move exposure events and exhibit significantly worse outcomes by age 26 on multiple dimensions (earnings, criminal activity, teen parenthood, mortality); impacts are strongest for those who moved at earlier ages.

Population and Welfare: The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number
Peter Klenow et al.
Stanford Working Paper, April 2023 


Economic growth is typically measured in per capita terms. But social welfare should arguably include the number of people as well as their standard of living. We decompose social welfare growth -- measured in consumption-equivalent units -- into contributions from rising population and rising per capita consumption. Because of diminishing marginal utility of consumption, population growth is scaled up by a value-of-life factor that substantially exceeds one and empirically averages around 2.7 across countries and over time. Population increases are therefore consistently the dominant contributor, and consumption-equivalent welfare growth around the world averages more than 6% per year since 1960, as opposed to 2% per year for consumption growth. Countries such as Mexico and South Africa rise sharply in the growth rankings once population growth is incorporated, whereas China, Germany and Japan plummet. We show the robustness of these results to incorporating parental time use and fertility decisions using data from the U.S., the Netherlands, Japan, and South Korea. The effects of falling parental utility from having fewer kids are roughly offset by increases in the “quality” of kids associated with rising time investment per child.

The Effect of a Peer's Teen Pregnancy on Sexual Behavior
Priyanka Anand & Lisa Kahn
NBER Working Paper, May 2023


In this paper, we examine whether a friend or older sibling's teen pregnancy impacts one's own sexual behavior. We exploit high-frequency data on sexual activity from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health and the sharp timing of the end of a peer's pregnancy to analyze the evolution of sexual behavior. We find that those who observe a peer's teen pregnancy change their sexual behavior after the event to put themselves at lower risk of their own teen pregnancy; specifically, they are less likely to have unprotected sex and have fewer sexual partners in the months following the end of the teen pregnancy. We find that females are more likely to change their sexual behavior after the end of a peer's teen pregnancy compared to males, and the effects are larger after observing a peer's teen pregnancy that results in a live birth. Our work suggests that connecting youth personally with the experiences of teen parents is a promising avenue for teen pregnancy prevention campaigns.

Contraception ends the genetic maintenance of human same-sex sexual behavior
Siliang Song & Jianzhi Zhang
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 23 May 2023 


Because human same-sex sexual behavior (SSB) is heritable and leads to fewer offspring, it is puzzling why SSB-associated alleles have not been selectively purged. Current evidence supports the antagonistic pleiotropy hypothesis that SSB-associated alleles benefit individuals exclusively performing opposite-sex sexual behavior by increasing their number of sexual partners and consequently their number of offspring. However, by analyzing the UK Biobank, here, we show that having more sexual partners no longer predicts more offspring since the availability of oral contraceptives in the 1960s and that SSB is now genetically negatively correlated with the number of offspring, suggesting a loss of SSB’s genetic maintenance in modern societies.

Hostile Sexism and Abortion Attitudes in Contemporary American Public Opinion
Anne Cizmar & Kerem Ozan Kalkan
Politics & Gender, forthcoming 


Abortion is a divisive issue in American politics. Studies analyzing attitudes toward abortion have found that abortion attitudes are relatively stable over time compared with attitudes on other issues and that religiosity and partisanship are key factors influencing abortion attitudes. Recent research has also found a role for benevolent sexism in abortion attitudes. This article expands on the literature and examines the role of hostile sexism -- dislike toward women who are seen as usurping men’s authority -- in attitudes about abortion in the United States. Using data from the 2012, 2016, and 2020 American National Election Studies, we find that hostile sexism is significantly related to abortion attitudes, even after controlling for theoretically relevant covariates such as partisanship, ideology, religiosity, and sociodemographic variables. As hostile sexism increases, people are more likely to express pro-life attitudes rather than pro-choice attitudes.


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