The Influence of Family Structure on Child Outcomes: Evidence for Ireland
A large body of international literature has documented a correlation between nontraditional family structure and poorer child outcomes, yet researchers continue to disagree as to whether the association represents a true causal effect. This article extends this literature by employing propensity score matching using the first wave of data from the Growing up in Ireland child cohort study. We argue that the Irish case is of particular interest given the highly selective nature of non-marriage. We find that, on average, non-marriage has negative effects on a child educational development at age 9 but the effects are smaller in relation to health outcomes and the child’s self-concept. However, selection effects account for a non-trivial proportion of the differences in child outcomes across lone-mother and cohabiting families although hidden bias remains an important issue. This has important implications for policies which promote marriage as the key to child development as it appears that much of the benefits of marriage are not related to marriage per se but to the socio-economic background of mothers.
References listed on IDEAS
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- Marco Francesconi & Stephen P. Jenkins & Thomas Siedler, 2010.
"The effect of lone motherhood on the smoking behavior of young adults,"
John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(11), pages 1377-1384.
- Francesconi, Marco & Jenkins, Stephen P. & Siedler, Thomas, 2009. "The effect of lone motherhood on the smoking behaviour of young adults," ISER Working Paper Series 2009-25, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
- Francesconi, Marco & Jenkins, Stephen P. & Siedler, Thomas, 2009. "The Effect of Lone Motherhood on the Smoking Behaviour of Young Adults," IZA Discussion Papers 4392, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Marco Francesconi & Stephen P. Jenkins & Thomas Siedler, 2009. "The Effect of Lone Motherhood on the Smoking Behaviour of Young Adults," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 217, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
- Fahey, Tony & Russell, Helen, 2001. "Family Formation in Ireland Trends, Data Needs and Implications: Report to Family Affairs Unit, Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number PRS43.
- Gerfin, Michael & Lechner, Michael, 2001. "A Microeconometric Evaluation of Active Labour Market Policy in Switzerland," CEPR Discussion Papers 2993, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Dohoon Lee, 2010. "The early socioeconomic effects of teenage childbearing," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 23(25), pages 697-736, October. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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