Panel: The Effects of the Great Recession On Children and Youth
(Child Policy)

Friday, November 9, 2012: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
McKeldon (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizers:  Christina Gibson-Davis, Duke University
Moderators:  Timothy Smeeding, Institute for Research on Poverty
Chairs:  Kristin Seefeldt, University of Michigan

This interdisciplinary panel examines how the Great Recession, the most severe economic downturn America has experienced in 75 years, has affected the economic and social well-being of children and young adults. This panel examines effects of two of the most salient features of the Great Recession, job loss and home foreclosures, on a number of critical domains, including food insecurity among children, child health, adolescents’ risk-taking behavior and young adults’ labor market success. Panelists represent a range of disciplines, including economics, psychology, and sociology. Authors will utilize a variety of sophisticated methods; use both newly collected data on the Great Recession in specific locations and longitudinal national data sets; and discuss policy implications to guide policymakers continuing to struggle with solutions to the economic crisis. The first paper, “Understanding Food Insecurity during the Great Recession,” uses a number of nationally representative data sets to investigate changes in the relationship between poverty and food insecurity since the onset of the Great Recession. The paper provides a comprehensive profile of families with food insecurity and examines changes in three areas that might explain why the Great Recession has produced such high food insecurity: unemployment; home ownership; and food prices. The second paper, “Economic Instability and Child Health: Evidence from the Aftermath of the Great Recession,” employs data from the Michigan Recession and Recovery Study, an in-depth study of approximately 450 African-American and white children living in Southeast Michigan. The paper examines links between economic instability and child health specific to the most recent downturn. The paper also explores whether the association between economic instability and child health differs for blacks versus whites. The third paper, “Coming of Age in the Great Recession: Impacts on the Employment and Education of the NLSY97 Cohort,” uses a nationally representative sample of young adults to examine how the Great Recession has affected youths’ educational and labor market activity. The NLSY97 is particularly well-suited to examine the effects of the Great Recession on human capital acquisition and labor market success because the NLSY97 cohorts were making these transitions during the Great Recession. The paper also examines how youth’s human capital experiences during the Great Recession affected their attitudes and expectations about the future. The fourth paper, “National Evidence on the Effects of State-Level Job Losses on Youth Risk Behaviors,” combines data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System and the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Mass Layoff Statistics to examine the effects of statewide job losses on adolescents’ risk-taking behaviors, including drug and alcohol use and risky sexual behavior. Contrary to some predictions, but consistent with prior research focused on adult health-related behaviors, the authors find that when statewide job losses increase, adolescents’ risk-taking behaviors decrease overall. Job losses significantly reduce the use of cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana among high school students. While losses significantly increase the probability that a teen is sexually active, they also significantly decrease the average number of sex partners and increase the probability that a teen used contraception at last sexual intercourse.

Economic Instability and Child Health: Evidence From the Aftermath of the Great Recession
Ariel Kalil, University of Chicago and Lindsey Leininger, Chapin Hall at The University of Chicago

The Effects of State-Level Job Losses On Youth Risk Behaviors
Elizabeth Ananat, Anna Gassman-Pines and Christina Gibson-Davis, Duke University

Understanding Food Insecurity During the Great Recession
Kristin Butcher, Wellesley College, Patricia Anderson, Dartmouth College, Hillary Hoynes, University of California, Davis and Diane Schanzenbach, Northwestern University

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