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The impact of parental worklessness on children’s labour market outcomes: exploring gender and ethnicity

posted on 2023-06-09, 06:34 authored by Carolina Zuccotti, Jacqueline O'ReillyJacqueline O'Reilly
The increase of workless households and, in particular, the consequences of having been raised in such households, has received particular attention in the UK. Previous research shows that having been raised in a workless household has a negative impact on a series of outcomes, such as higher probabilities of being NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) or spending longer periods out of work. However, little is known about how men and women and different ethnic groups differ in terms of this experience. This paper aims at filling in this gap. According to data from Understanding Society (2011-2012) around 6% of individuals in the UK had workless parents when growing up. This figure, however, rises to 9% for younger cohorts (16-35 years old), and in particular, to values that vary between 12% and 54% for young non-white ethnic minorities. Using the third wave of the Understanding Society, this study sheds light on the impact that having been raised in various household types has on labour market outcomes of young men and women of different ethnic groups. Among other findings, we show that gender and ethnicity are inter-related factors when studying the effect of origin households. Considering the entire sample, we first observe that having workless parents (vs. two-working parents) affects negatively more the labour market outcomes of young women than those of young men. However, while this gender effect does not seem to hold for the white British, it does – and to a greater extent – for the non-white ethnic minorities.


Publication status

  • Published

Presentation Type

  • paper

Event name

Understanding Society Scientific Conference 2015

Event location

Colchester, UK

Event type


Event date

21-23 Jul 2015

Department affiliated with

  • Business and Management Publications

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


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