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Reading at a young age could boost male earnings

03/06/2016 Joanna

Growing up surrounded by books can have a significant effect on how much you earn as an adult, new research has shown.

The study, which was conducted by economists at the University of Padua in Italy, looked specifically at male children. It studied 6,000 men born in nine European countries, revealing that those who had access to books at a young age could expect to earn materially more than those who grow up with few or no books.

Men who had access to a lot of books as a child could expect to earn as much 21 per cent more than those who had less than one shelf of books at home. In addition, they are much more likely to to move to the better-earning opportunities in cities than those without books.

The researchers suggested that this could be because having access to many books encourages children to read more, which can have a positive effect on all school subjects. They added that "a home filled with books indicates advantageous socio-economic conditions".

This study mirrors many others, specifically recent research conducted by the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, which showed that nurturing a child in their early years boosts brain growth. 

The main author of the study, Joan Luby, child psychiatrist at St Louis Children's Hospital, said: "We think that's due to greater plasticity in the brain when kids are younger, meaning that the brain is affected more by experiences very early in life. That suggests it's vital that kids receive support and nurturing during those early years."

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