Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The extent to which childhood circumstances impact adulthood outcomes has been long debated by researchers. This dissertation contributes to the discussion by using the family background and real property records of a sample of American individuals to determine whether one’s adult personal financial achievements are significantly impacted by one’s family background. With a unique hand-matched dataset, this dissertation traces 1056 individuals from the 1940 U.S. Census to present day public records. This results in a 40 or more year lag from the 1940 Census data to appearance of individual data in the LexisNexis public records. Significant determinants to owning residential real estate include whether the father attended college, held a job, as well as race. The value of one’s parents’ (owned) home, family income, father attending college, and being a white male with immigrant parents are significantly related to the median value of homes in one’s neighborhood as an adult.

Using the same unique handmatched dataset, Essay 2 traces the childhood real estate circumstances of 495 children with at least one sibling also present in the sample from the 1940 U.S. Census to present day real estate records. This paper traces 208 sibling pairs and groups (totaling 495 individuals), including 3 twin pairs, from the 1940 U.S. Census to present day public records. Sibling studies are widely used in the sciences to provide an additional element of control against omitted variables. This study is the first of its kind in the finance/real estate literature to exploit sibling relationships with family and neighborhood fixed effects and peer effects to help mitigate the omitted variables bias that is implicit in a study of this scope. The results show that, on average, siblings do achieve similar adulthood outcomes, with twins even more likely to have similar outcomes. Significant predictors to owning residential real estate include one’s father attending college and holding a job.



Committee Chair

Pace, R. Kelley



Available for download on Thursday, November 02, 2028