State Investments in Successful Transitions to Adulthood

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

Over the last four decades young Americans have experienced unprecedented changes in economic opportunities as a result of de-industrialization and market restructuring. States have responded to economic restructuring by mounting a variety of development policies to promote economic opportunities for entrepreneurs and job creation within their borders. This project investigated the effects of state development policies on the lives of adolescents and young adults. The educational, employment and family activities of young persons were examined from ages 12 to 25, using information from nationally representative population surveys. Prolonged school enrollment and delays in the formation of romantic unions and becoming a parent are strong predictors of human capital development and later career success and life satisfaction. This research demonstrates that attention also needs to be directed toward the broader economic context in which young persons grow up, with particular attention to state supports for human capital investment.

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Presented in Session 174: Policy Impacts in Social and Economic Well-Being