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New Estimates on the Effect of Parental Separation on Child Health

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Author Info

  • Shirley H. Liu

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Miami)

  • Frank Heiland

    ()
    (Department of Economics and Center of Demography and Population Health, Florida State University)

Abstract

This study examines the causal link between parental non-marital relationship dissolution and the health status of young children. Using a representative sample of children all born out of wedlock drawn from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, we investigate whether separation between unmarried biological parents has a causal effect on a child’s likelihood of developing asthma. Adopting a potential outcome framework to account for selection of relationship dissolution, we find that children whose parents separate within three years after childbirth are seven percent more likely to develop asthma by age three, compared to if their parents had remained romantically involved. We provide evidence that socioeconomically disadvantaged fathers are more likely to see the relationship with their child’s mother end, and selection into relationship dissolution along these dimensions helps explain the poorer health outcomes found among out-of-wedlock children whose parents separate.

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File URL: http://moya.bus.miami.edu/~sliu/Research_files/bookvolume3.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Miami, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0719.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 22 Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming in "Casual Analysis in Population Studies: Concepts, Methods, Applications", European Studies of Population
Handle: RePEc:mia:wpaper:0719

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Web page: http://www.bus.miami.edu/faculty-and-research/academic-departments/economics/index.html
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Related research

Keywords: Child Asthma; Fragile Families; Relationship Dissolution; Propensity Score Matching;

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References

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  1. Shirley H. Liu & Frank Heiland, 2007. "Should We Get Married? The Effect of Parents' Marriage on Out-of-Wedlock Children," Working Papers 0720, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
  2. Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-87, December.
  3. Guido W. Imbens, 2003. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects under Exogeneity: A Review," NBER Technical Working Papers 0294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Yoram Weiss & Robert J. Willis, . "Match Quality, New Information and Marital Dissolution," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 95-13, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  5. Ribar, David C., 2004. "What Do Social Scientists Know About the Benefits of Marriage? A Review of Quantitative Methodologies," IZA Discussion Papers 998, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. David M. Blau, 1999. "The Effect of Child Care Characteristics on Child Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(4), pages 786-822.
  7. Neidell, Matthew J., 2004. "Air pollution, health, and socio-economic status: the effect of outdoor air quality on childhood asthma," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 1209-1236, November.
  8. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  9. Johnson, Waldo E., 2001. "Paternal involvement among unwed fathers," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(6-7), pages 513-536.
  10. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
  11. Wilson, Melvin & Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne, 2001. "Health status and behaviors of unwed fathers," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4-5), pages 377-401.
  12. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 1998. "Causal Effects in Non-Experimental Studies: Re-Evaluating the Evaluation of Training Programs," NBER Working Papers 6586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages S11-S26, Part II, .
  14. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra, 1998. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 261-94, April.
  15. Shaw, Kathryn L, 1987. "The Quit Propensity of Married Men," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(4), pages 533-60, October.
  16. James J. Heckman, 1989. "Choosing Among Alternative Nonexperimental Methods for Estimating the Impact of Social Programs: The Case of Manpower Training," NBER Working Papers 2861, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Reichman, Nancy E. & Teitler, Julien O. & Garfinkel, Irwin & McLanahan, Sara S., 2001. "Fragile Families: sample and design," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4-5), pages 303-326.
  18. Frank Heiland & Shirley H. Liu, 2006. "Family structure and wellbeing of out-of-wedlock children," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 15(4), pages 61-104, September.
  19. David I. Levine & Gary Painter, 2003. "The Schooling Costs of Teenage Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing: Analysis with a Within-School Propensity-Score-Matching Estimator," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 884-900, November.
  20. Michael Lechner, 2002. "Program Heterogeneity And Propensity Score Matching: An Application To The Evaluation Of Active Labor Market Policies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 205-220, May.
  21. Marjorie B. McElroy, 1990. "The Empirical Content of Nash-Bargained Household Behavior," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 559-583.
  22. Michael LECHNER, 2008. "A Note on the Common Support Problem in Applied Evaluation Studies," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 91-92, pages 217-235.
  23. Scott Drewianka, 2004. "How Will Reforms of Marital Institutions Influence Marital Commitment? A Theoretical Analysis," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 303-323, 09.
  24. Heckman, James J. & Robb, Richard Jr., 1985. "Alternative methods for evaluating the impact of interventions : An overview," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 239-267.
  25. Sascha O. Becker & Andrea Ichino, 2002. "Estimation of average treatment effects based on propensity scores," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 2(4), pages 358-377, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Sharon Bzostek & Audrey Beck, 2008. "Family Structure And Child Health Outcomes In Fragile Families," Working Papers 1081, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..

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