Parental Employment Uncertainty and Children Early Skills Development and Well-Being.

Marta Facchini , INED
Lidia Panico , Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Carlo Barone, Observatoire Sociologique du Changement

Parental work trajectories are increasingly turbulent in European households. This has a negative impact on the psychophysical health of the workers, their spouses, and household stability. Less is known about the role of employment uncertainty on early childhood development. We use data from the longitudinal survey ELFE collected in France by INED. ELFE is a nationally representative study that follows about 18.000 children from their birth in 2011. We use the first four waves, collected when the ELFE child was 2 months old, 1 year old, 2 years old and 3 and a half years old. We investigate the link between household employment uncertainty and children’s i) cognitive skills development, ii) soft skills development, iii) well-being, using Ordinal Least Squares and the Linear probability model. Cognitive development is measured by the MacArthur-Bates CDI and the French equivalent of the British Ability Scale. Soft skills development is assessed measuring conflictual and difficult behaviour; and as a proxy for children’s well-being, we use parent-reported wheezing. Additionally, we replicate the analysis on imputed datasets with the aim of increasing efficiency and as a robustness check, using a substantive-model compatible fully conditional specification. Employment uncertainty seems to be associated with worse early skills development when both parents face employment uncertainty, particularly for cognitive skills, and when the child is three and a half years old. We find no link with wheezing. Persistent employment uncertainty seems to be associated with worse children’s outcomes when it includes long spells of unemployment and inactivity.

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 Presented in Session 45. Skills development – opportunities and outcomes