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Does family structure affect children's educational outcomes?

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  • Donna K. Ginther
  • Robert A. Pollak

Abstract

In this paper we examine the effect of family structure on children’s educational outcomes by exploiting the sibling structure in the NLSY and NLSY-Child to control for unobserved heterogeneity across families and individuals. We also compare outcomes for children within the same family—stepchildren with their half-siblings in the same blended family who are the biological children of both parents. Using panel data methods to control for unobserved heterogeneity across families, we find that family structure effects are statistically insignificant. Finally, comparing half-siblings in our data, we find no difference in educational outcomes as a function of family structure. Our empirical results are consistent with at least two interpretations. First, they can be interpreted as evidence that estimates of family structure effects reflect selection rather than causation. Second, they can be interpreted as evidence that the presence of stepchildren disrupts families.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its series Working Paper with number 2000-13.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2000-13

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Keywords: Child care ; Demography ; Education ; Human capital;

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  2. Gary Painter & David I. Levine, 2000. "Family Structure and Youths' Outcomes: Which Correlations are Causal?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(3), pages 524-549.
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  29. repec:att:wimass:9217 is not listed on IDEAS
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Anders Bj�Rklund & Marianne Sundstr�M, 2006. "Parental Separation and Children's Educational Attainment: A Siblings Analysis on Swedish Register Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(292), pages 605-624, November.
  2. Heather Antecol & Kelly Bedard, 2002. "Does Single Parenthood Increase the Probability of Teenage Promiscuity, Drug Use and Crime?," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2002-23, Claremont Colleges.
  3. Rainer Winkelmann, 2003. "Parental Separation and Well-Being of Youths," SOI - Working Papers 0312, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
  4. Yuxin Li & Karen Mumford, . "Aspirations, Expectations and Education Outcomes for Children in Britain: Considering Relative Measures of Family Efficiency," Discussion Papers 09/26, Department of Economics, University of York.
  5. Kamhon Kana & Wei-Der Tsai, 2003. "Parenting Practices and Children's Education Outcomes," IEAS Working Paper : academic research 03-A005, Institute of Economics, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.
  6. Constant, Amelie & Zimmermann, Klaus F, 2004. "Occupational Choice Across Generations," CEPR Discussion Papers 4258, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Mahler, Philippe & Winkelmann, Rainer, 2004. "Single Motherhood and (Un)Equal Educational Opportunities: Evidence for Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 1391, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Winkelmann, Rainer, 2006. "Parental separation and well-being of youths: Evidence from Germany," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 197-208, April.
  9. John Ermisch, 2003. "How Do Parents Affect the Life Chances of Their Children as Adults? An Idiosyncratic Review," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 101, McMaster University.
  10. Björklund, Anders & Ginther, Donna K. & Sundström, Marianne, 2004. "Family Structure and Child Outcomes in the United States and Sweden," IZA Discussion Papers 1259, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Mohanty, Madhu S. & Ullah, Aman, 2012. "Direct and indirect effects of happiness on wage: A simultaneous equations approach," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 143-152.
  12. Akresh, Richard, 2004. "Adjusting Household Structure: School Enrollment Impacts of Child Fostering in Burkina Faso," IZA Discussion Papers 1379, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Eirik Evenhouse & Siobhan Reilly, 2000. "Is the Wicked Stepmother Just a Fairytale?," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0049, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  14. Philippe Mahler & Rainer Winkelmann, 2004. "Secondary School Track Selection of Single-Parent Children – Evidence from the German Socio-Economic Panel," SOI - Working Papers 0415, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich, revised Oct 2005.
  15. Björklund, Anders & Sundström, Marianne, 2002. "Parental Separation and Children's Educational Attainment: A Siblings Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 643, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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