Working papers

Here you can search our series of working papers, dating back to 1983. These papers use data from our four cohort studies and cover a wide range of topics, from social inequalities and mobility, to physical health, education and cognitive development. Other papers in the series seek to improve the practice of longitudinal research. At the present time, we are only able to accept papers if at least one author is a member of the CLS research team. Some of the working papers below will subsequently have been published in peer-reviewed journals.

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Working papers

Linkage to health administrative data- CLS working paper 2015/3

This CLS working paper documents the the first longitudinal exploration of consent to link survey and administrative data. It relies on a theoretical framework distinguishing between passive, active, consistent and inconsistent consent behaviour.

Key words: Consent; data linkage; Millennium Cohort Study; longitudinal data.

Author: Tarek Mostafa and Richard D. Wiggins
Date published: 1 May 2015
Working papers

Additive association of maternal and paternal body mass index on weight status trajectories from childhood to mid-adulthood in the 1970 British Cohort Study- CLS working paper 2015/2

This CLS working paper aims to (i) describe the weight status trajectories from childhood to mid-adulthood and (ii) investigate the influence of maternal and paternal body mass index (BMI) on offspring’s trajectories in the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70).

Author: Silvia Costa, William Johnson, Russell M Viner
Date published: 1 March 2015
Working papers

The mysteries of religion and the lifecourse- CLS working paper 2015/1

This CLS working paper uses data from the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) to analyse the changing role of religion on cohort member over their life course.

Author: David Voas
Date published: 1 January 2015
Working papers

Social mobility and the importance of networks – evidence for Britain- CLS working paper 2014/10

This CLS working paper addresses the help that parents give their children in the job market such as internships and other similar employment opportunities. It provides insight into whether the strong link between parental socio-economic background and the individual’s own economic success can be explained in part by the fact that parents assist their children to get jobs.

The paper uses data from the 1970 British Cohort Study Age 42 Sweep.

Author: Oscar Marcenaro-Gutierrez, John Micklewright and Anna Vignoles
Date published: 1 December 2014
Working papers

A rise in symmetrical families: Fact or fiction?- CLS working paper 2014/9

Vicky Cross examines the hypothesis that the employment gap between men and women has narrowed significantly in recent decades, leading to more ‘symmetrical’ families: ie where men and women’s roles are much more equal.

Using British longitudinal data collected during the first twelve years of the 21st century, the paper explores how the sharing of domestic duties and childcare responsibilities has changed among the same families between 2000 – 2012. Specifically, we address

  1. ? Are domestic tasks shared more when couples are age 30 or age 42? Have men taken on more responsibilities as they have got older?
  2. ? Do men and women agree that the tasks are shared equally or who has the main responsibility for them?
  3. ? What are the main socio-economic characteristics that increase joint responsibility of domestic tasks in the home?
  4.      Have men increasingly taken on a child-care role?

Keywords: BCS70, gender equality, domestic duties, child-care, social class.

Author: Vicky Cross
Date published: 27 November 2014
Working papers

Variation within Households in Consent to Link Survey Data to Administrative Records: Evidence from the UK Millennium Cohort Study- CLS working paper 2014/8

Tarek Mostafa examines respondents’ behaviour when consenting to link their own records and when consenting to link those of their children. The paper develops and tests a number of hypothesised mechanisms of consent, some of which were not explored in the past. The hypotheses cover: parental pride, privacy concerns, loyalty to the survey, pre-existing relations with the agency holding the data, and interviewer effects. The exercise uses data from the Millennium Cohort Study to analyse the correlates of consent in multiple domains (i.e. linkage of education, health and economic records). It relies on a multivariate probit approach to model the different consent outcomes, and uses fixed and random effects specifications to estimate the effects of interviewers.

The findings show that respondent’s behaviour vary depending on the consent domain (i.e. education, health, and economic records) and on the person for whom consent is sought (i.e. main respondent vs. cohort member). In particular, the cohort member’s cognitive skills and the main respondent’s privacy concerns have differential effects on consent. On the other hand, loyalty to the survey proxied by the longitudinal response history has a significant and strong impact on consent irrespective of the outcome. The findings also show that interviewers account for a large proportion of variations in consent even after controlling for the characteristics of the interviewer’s assignment area. In total, it is possible to conclude that the significant impact of some of the correlates will lead to sample bias which needs to be accounted for when working with linked survey and administrative data.

Keywords: Informed consent; data linkage; multivariate probit models; UK Millennium Cohort Study; sample bias.

Author: Tarek Mostafa
Date published: 20 November 2014
Working papers

Vocabulary from adolescence to middle-age- CLS working paper 2014/7

Alice Sullivan and Matt Brown exploit the rich cognitive measures taken during childhood and adolescence in the BCS70 cohort, including adult measures of literacy and numeracy. For the first time, the 2012 survey included a repeat measure in adulthood of a cognitive scale which had been used previously with the cohort in childhood – a vocabulary test first taken in 1986, when the cohort members were 16 years old. This paper asks how vocabulary scores changed between the ages of 16 and 42, taking account of early social background and childhood reading behaviour, but also examining the influence of educational and labour market attainment and reading for pleasure in mid-life. The authors find that both educational and occupational attainment, and reading habits in childhood and adulthood, are linked to vocabulary growth.

Keywords: 1970 cohort, cognitive skills, vocabulary, education, employment, reading, numeracy.


Author: Alice Sullivan and Matt Brown
Date published: 10 November 2014
Working papers

Non-cognitive skills: What are they and how can they be measured by the British cohort studies?- CLS working paper 2014/6

Heather Joshi undertakes a review of literature prepared as background to work on NCDS and BCS70 on social mobility. The first part reviews literature on the definition, sources and labour market rewards to non-cognitive (‘soft’) skills or personality traits. It is generally agreed that these factors play a role over and above cognitive skills, but through complex pathways. The second part of the paper reviews the ways in which the notion of non-cognitive skill has been operationalized by researchers using the British Cohort Studies, particularly NCDS and BCS70, as part of the study of the inter-generational transmission of social advantage.

Keywords: 1958 cohort, 1970 cohort, social mobility, intergenerational, non-cognitive skills, soft skills.


Author: Heather Joshi
Date published: 19 September 2014
Working papers

Research on health and health behaviours based on the 1970 British Cohort Study- CLS working paper 2014/5

This CLS working paper reviews research that uses information from the childhood waves of the 1970 British Cohort Study (birth to 16 years) as either health outcomes or as predictors of later health outcomes.

Author: Sam Parsons, Alice Sullivan and Matt Brown
Date published: 4 September 2014
Working papers

The art of asking questions about religion- CLS working paper 2014/4

Over the years, the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) respondents have been asked a number of different questions about religion.

This CLS working paper investigates the way in which different questions wordings have produced large differences in the substantive responses. As well as comparing the 1970 cohort’s responses across different waves of the study, the study compares BCS70 responses to responses to the British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey and the Census.

Author: Alice Sullivan, David Voas and Matt Brown
Date published: 3 September 2014
Working papers

Training and accreditation of interviewers to carry out physical measurements on the UK Millennium Cohort- CLS working paper 2014/3

This CLS working paper describes our approach to developing an interviewer accreditation process for conducting physical measurements on the most recent wave of the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), which took place at age 11 in 2012.

Key words: Longitudinal, interviewer training, accreditation, physical measurements, quality control, Millennium Cohort Study

Author: Nicki Rose, Rachel Williams, Lisa Calderwood and Kate Smith
Date published: 2 September 2014
Working papers

Handling attrition and non-response in the 1970 British Cohort Study- CLS working paper 2014/2

This CLS working paper studies the extent of attrition in the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) and how it affects sample composition over time. It examines the determinants of response then construct inverse probability weights and uses a simulation study to illustrate the effectiveness of weights and imputations in dealing with unit non-response and item missingness respectively.

Key words: BCS70, attrition, unit non-response, item non-response, weights, imputation.

Author: Tarek Mostafa and Richard D. Wiggins
Date published: 1 June 2014
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