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How Distance to a Non-Residential Parent Relates to Child Outcomes

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  • Rasmussen, Astrid Würtz

    ()
    (Aarhus University)

  • Stratton, Leslie S.

    ()
    (Virginia Commonwealth University)

Abstract

A substantial and growing fraction of children across Europe and the US live in single parent households. Law practices are evolving to encourage both parents to maintain contact with their children following parental separation/divorce, driven by the belief that such contact is in the best interest of the child. We test this assumption by using information on the distance between non-residential parents and their children to proxy for contact, and measuring educational, behavioral, and health outcomes for a population sample of children from nonnuclear families in Denmark. Instrumental variables techniques are employed to control for the endogeneity of residence. The results indicate that educational and behavioral outcomes are better for children who live farther away from their non-residential parent, but that distance is not related to health outcomes. Failing to control for endogeneity biases the results in favor of more proximate parents. These findings suggest that policy efforts to keep separated parents geographically closer together for the sake of the children may, in fact, not be advantageous.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6965.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6965

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Keywords: child outcomes; parental separation; distance;

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  1. Corak, Miles Heisz, Andrew, 1999. "Death and Divorce: The Long-term Consequences of Parental Loss on Adolescents," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1999135e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  2. Maria Cancian & Daniel Meyer, 1998. "Who gets custody?," Demography, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 147-157, May.
  3. Joseph Price, 2008. "Parent-Child Quality Time: Does Birth Order Matter?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
  4. Sandra Hofferth, 2006. "Residential father family type and child well-being: Investment versus selection," Demography, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 53-77, February.
  5. 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.
  6. Heather Antecol & Kelly Bedard, 2007. "Does single parenthood increase the probability of teenage promiscuity, substance use, and crime?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 55-71, February.
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