Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder and Andrew M. Jones
The UK has a unique history of longitudinal birth cohort studies, where individuals are followed from birth to adulthood with direct contact with the cohort members from infancy. Most of the birth cohorts have historically been used particularly by those in medicine, epidemiology, and social policy. More recently, however, interest has expanded to embrace a much wider range of scientific programs, including those in economics. This chapter considers the scientific rationale for studying birth cohorts, compares the use of birth cohorts to other longitudinal research designs, discusses the UK birth cohorts, and refers to some key papers in economics that use these data. It ends with a review of some of the econometric methods that have been applied to these cohort studies.