Low-Income Children's Participation in Guided Activities

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 09:30
Location: Hörsaal 11 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Juliane ACHATZ, IAB Institute for Employment Research, Germany
Opportunities to interact with peers and to establish social relationships are supposed to play an important role regarding the social development of children and adolescents. A number of studies have found that children and youth from low-income families often are not only disadvantaged in financial terms, but in their social relations beyond the family as well. While some studies reveal disadvantages of poor children regarding social participation, others point out that a number of low-income parents nevertheless manage it to give their children the opportunity to participate in leisure activities. This leads to the question if participation is associated with financial conditions irrespective of other factors like family structure and educational background of parents. To disentangle effects of financial constraints from other factors is an important policy concern. In 2011, the German government introduced education and inclusion subsidies for children of low-income families. This policy approach implies the assumption that risks of social exclusion are mainly due to financial hardship that can be effectively counteracted against by providing financial support.

 This study contributes information about the gap between low-income children and youth and more affluent groups in terms of their opportunities to participate in guided leisure activities like extra-curricular music or art education, sport programs or club memberships. The main research questions are: To what extent does participation differ for children from low-income families and children from more affluent families? Which attributes of children and their families are associated with participation in guided activities? Also, using data from three waves of the German Panel Survey “Labour Market and Social Security” (PASS) it shall be explored if the participation gap changes over time. Results and policy implications will be discussed against the background of the implementation of “Education and Inclusion Subsidies” for low-income children in Germany.