State investments in successful transitions to adulthood

Kevin Leicht, University of Iowa
Elisabeta Minca, Brown University
Dennis Hogan, Brown University

In this analysis we examine the impact of state-level economic development environments on transitions to adulthood for adolescents in the National Survey of Adolescent Health who were enrolled in grades 7 to 12 in 1994/95 and followed up in 2001/02 at ages 20 to 26. Our hypotheses are that state economic and educational policies alter the environment of opportunity, which affects the ability of young people to prolong school enrollment and begin full-time employment. Our analysis uses robust logistic regression to consider the effects of these policies on transitions to adulthood (full-time school enrollment, full-time employment, independent residence, marriage or cohabitation, and parenthood). Our results suggest that the state capacity necessary to promote entrepreneurial employment growth prolongs school enrollments and full-time jobs and delays independent living, marriage, and cohabitation, and parenthood. These results are especially pronounced for youth from families with relatively limited economic resources.

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Presented in Session 79: Public policy, education and household welfare