Birthplace influences adult income, new research suggests
A new study finds that factors influencing where you're born continue to affect your earnings throughout life.
- Children born, raised, and working in big cities tend to be more successful.
- A mountain of British demographic data reveals the correlation.
- Are more successful families created by cities, or are they more likely to move there?
A new study, published in March in the Journal of Urban Economics, finds that the location in which you're born is likely to correlate to the amount of money you earn as an adult. It's not magic, but rather the continuing influence of factors that resulted in your mother giving birth to you where she did in the first place. Since living in a big city can mean earning higher wages, being born in one — and growing up there — is likelier to lead to a lifelong economic advantage.
The study’s data
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The authors of the study, Clément Bosquet of the University of Cergy-Pontoise in France and Henry G. Overman of the London School of Economics, derived their conclusions from an analysis of highly-detailed demographic data collected for the U.K.'s British Household Panel Survey. The information it contains was sourced in 18 waves from 1991 to 2009 from interviews with everyone 16 and older residing at a specific address. Individuals who moved from these residences to other locations were also tracked. On average, participants were interviewed 7.4 times over the course of the project, and Bosquet and Overman discarded individuals not interviewed at least twice.
After factoring out data that the researchers felt would skew clear results — including periods of unemployment, study, and retirement, for example — they were left a baseline data set of 55,382 observations for 75,00 individuals. (This data set was expanded as necessary for deriving insights into certain specific demographic characteristics.)
Why this happens
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Previous research has documented the reasons that residents of affluent areas in big cities wind up with higher incomes — the downside being the unfortunate fact that those who live in areas of urban poverty find it harder to climb the socioeconomic ladder.
It's believed that the advantages of living in a big city come from the greater number of benefits available, among them abundant amenities and opportunities for employment, wider educational choices, and robust social networks.
Large urban centers also perpetuate the growing gap between the well-off and everyone else in terms of potential success, especially as the U.S. population is increasingly moving into such expensive places to live. They attract more well-off residents in the first place, and it's their children who are the focus of this study. About 80 percent of children born to professionals, finds the study, are born in large urban areas. Even more significant is that urban kids are more likely to get a good education, a characteristic they share with their well-educated parents, a majority of whom favor city life.
The study asserts that nearly half of us — a whopping 43.7 percent never move out of the areas in which we're born, and indeed, the effect of birth location is strongest for these children. They benefit from urban advantages throughout their childhoods, teen years, and adulthood, and in general enjoy the increased odds for success that all big-city dwellers enjoy. People who move to big cities as adults also do better than those remaining in birthplaces having fewer economic advantages.
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Students who think the world is just cheat less, but they need to experience justice to feel that way.
- Students in German and Turkish universities who believed the world is just cheated less than their pessimistic peers.
- The tendency to think the world is just is related to the occurence of experiences of justice.
- The findings may prove useful in helping students adjust to college life.
The world is just? That’s news to a lot of people.<p>The study is the most recent addition to a long line of work focusing on the belief in justice, our behavior, and our reactions to evidence that might suggest injustice occasionally occurs. This study focuses on a personal belief in a just world, (PBJW) rather than a general belief in a just world (GBJW). The difference between them must be highlighted.</p><p>GBJW is the stance that justice prevails all over the world and that people tend to get what they deserve. PBJW is more focused on the individual's social environment and their belief that they tend to be treated justly. While several studies show PBJW correlates with a higher sense of well-being and a variety of other positive effects, a high GBJW is associated with less life satisfaction, negative behavior, and callousness towards the suffering of <a href="https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-1-4939-3216-0" target="_blank">others</a>. This study controlled for GBJW, and focused on PBJW as much as possible. </p><p>To assure that culture was not a factor, the study included students at universities in both Germany and Turkey. </p><p>The researchers gave students at the four participating universities a series of questionnaires that asked if they ever cheated in class, if they perceived the world to be just, if they though that justice always prevailed everywhere, their tendencies towards socially appropriate behavior, their life satisfaction, and if they felt like they were treated justly by their teachers and fellow students. </p><p>The answers were statistically analyzed for relationships. While some of the connections seem trivially true, others were surprising. <strong></strong></p><p>PBJW turned out to only be an indirect predictor of if a student was likely to cheat. Both a belief in a just world and a lower likelihood of cheating were mediated by the justice experiences of the students, with more of these positive experiences lowering the rate of cheating and improving their belief in justice. This was also associated with higher levels of life satisfaction. </p><p>These effects existed across all demographics in both countries. </p>
What does this mean? Is a belief in justice a self-fulfilling prophecy?<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6oMv-azHNCA" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p>In a way, it seems to be. People who have reason to think the world is just to them tend to interpret events in a way to sustain that belief and behave in a just manner. In a larger sense, the take away from this study is that experiences of justice, both from peers and instructors, is vital to student's wellbeing and understanding that the rules that exist about cheating are part of a larger, legitimate, system. </p><p>The researchers, citing previous studies on the perception of justice, note that "justice experiences (1) signal that university students are esteemed members of their social group, which in turn conveys feelings of belonging and social inclusion and (2) motivate them to accept and observe university rules and norms. These cognitive processes may thus strengthen their well-being and decrease the likelihood that they cheat."</p><p>The authors also suggest that if you want people (not only students) to act justly; consider treating them with "civility, respect, and dignity."</p><p>Sometimes, all it can take to help somebody act virtuously is to treat them well. Likewise, people treated harshly can rarely find reason to play by rules that don't protect them. The findings of this study will certainly add to the literature on how we perceive justice in the world around us, but might also help us remember that there are real consequences to our actions which can be much larger than we imagine. <strong></strong></p>
This could change how researchers approach vaccine development.
- The reason children suffer less from the novel coronavirus has remained mysterious.
- Researchers identified a cytokine, IL-17A, which appears to protect children from the ravages of COVID-19.
- This cytokine response could change how researchers approach vaccine development.
A member of staff wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) takes a child's temperature at the Harris Academy's Shortland's school on June 04, 2020 in London, England.
Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images<p>Experts don't want to place kids at the back of the line, regardless of how strong their immune systems appear. At least one company, Moderna, <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-vaccine-for-kids-moderna-plans-pediatric-trial-2020-9" target="_blank">hopes to begin testing</a> vaccines in pediatric volunteers by year's end.</p><p>Innate immune response is especially high during childhood (compared to adaptive immunity). This makes evolutionary sense: nature wants an animal to survive until its ready to procreate. Turns out the children in the study possessed high levels of cytokines that boost their immune response. The biggest impact is made by IL-17A, which appears to protect the youngest cohort from the ravages of the coronavirus. </p><p>While both age groups produced antibodies to fight off the infamous spike protein, adults that produce neutralizing antibodies actually suffer a <em>worse</em> fate. Herold says this "over-vigorous adaptive immune response" might promote inflammation, triggering acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). </p><p>This matters for vaccine development. As Herold says, </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Our adult COVID-19 patients who fared poorly had high levels of neutralizing antibodies, suggesting that convalescent plasma—which is rich in neutralizing antibodies—may not help adults who have already developed signs of ARDS. By contrast, therapies that boost innate immune responses early in the course of the disease may be especially beneficial."</p><p>Herold says current vaccine trials are focused on boosting neutralizing-antibody levels. With this new information, researchers may want to work on vaccines that boost the innate immune response instead. </p><p>With <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/science/coronavirus-vaccine-tracker.html" target="_blank">at least 55 vaccine trials</a> underway, every piece of data matters. </p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
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