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Family Structure and Youths' Outcomes: Which Correlations are Causal?

  • Gary Painter
  • David I. Levine

Growing up in a family that lacks a biological father is correlated with lower education and higher rates of teen out-of-wedlock fertility. This study uses the National Educational Longitudinal Survey of 1988 (NELS) to examine the extent to which the apparent effects of divorce or remarriage during a youth's high-school years were not causal, but were due to preexisting disadvantages of the family or youth. The correlations between family structure and youth outcomes appear to be largely causal: neither divorce nor remarriage during a youth's high school years have a strong relation to preexisting characteristics of the youth or family.

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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/146391
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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 35 (2000)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 524-549

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:35:y:2000:i:3:p:524-549
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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  1. Hotz, V Joseph & Mullin, Charles H & Sanders, Seth G, 1997. "Bounding Causal Effects Using Data from a Contaminated Natural Experiment: Analysing the Effects of Teenage Childbearing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 575-603, October.
  2. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "Did Unilateral Divorce Raise Divorce Rates? Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 6398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Larry Bumpass, 1984. "Children and marital disruption: A replication and update," Demography, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 71-82, February.
  4. McFadden, Daniel, 1974. "The measurement of urban travel demand," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 303-328, November.
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