Turner AJ, Fichera E, Sutton M. Estimating the late-life effects of social and emotional skills in childhood. Soc Sci Med. 2021 Nov 1. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.114522.

Social and emotional skills are known to affect health and non-health outcomes, but it is not known whether these skills in childhood affect late life outcomes. This lack of evidence is due to the absence of long-running datasets containing information on these skills and outcomes. We develop a three-stage model to estimate the effect of childhood social and emotional skills on health and labour market outcomes in late-life. We use this method to combine estimates from the National Child Development Survey and the British Household Panel Survey. We find that a standard deviation increase in average Bristol Social Adjustment Guide total score at ages 7 and 11 is associated with a 4.2% reduction in accumulated loss of quality-adjusted life years and £14,500 additional accumulated pre-tax earnings by age 63. Therefore, childhood interventions to increase social and emotional skills would be expected to reduce future healthcare costs and increase wealth. Our three-stage methodology can be used to predict the life-course effects of investments in childhood skills by combining datasets across population cohorts.

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