• Intergenerational effects;
  • social and health risks;
  • socio-economic disadvantage;
  • welfare receipt
  • I38;
  • J13;
  • J18


In this paper, we analyze the effect that growing up in a family with a history of welfare receipt has on young people's engagement in a variety of social and health risks. Unique administrative data matched to survey data for 18-year-olds and their mothers allow us to evaluate the effect of welfare receipt over the course of a young person's childhood. Much of the apparent link between family welfare history and risk taking disappears once we control for the effects of family structure, mothers’ own risk taking, and mothers’ investments in their children. We find no evidence that growing up on welfare causes young people to engage in risky behavior.