Growing up poor strongly predicts poverty and poor adult outcomes. This study explores two primary reasons poverty may persist across generations: risk behavior in adolescence and dropping out of high school. Results suggest that risk behavior and dropping out help perpetuate poor economic outcomes for children from single-parent families but are less important for children who grow up in low-income families. The findings suggest that policies directed at reducing youth risk behavior and dropping out can improve economic outcomes when targeted to youth from single-parent households.
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