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The Economic Consequences of Absent Parents

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  • Marianne E. Page
  • Ann Huff Stevens

Abstract

We examine the effects of family structure on economic resources, controlling for unobservable family characteristics. In the year following a divorce, family income falls by 41 percent and family food consumption falls by 18 percent. Six or more years later, the family income of the average child whose parent remains unmarried is 45 percent lower than it would have been if the divorce had not occurred. Marriage raises the long-run family income of children born to single parents by 45 percent. These estimates are substantially smaller than the losses that are implied by cross-sectional comparisons across family types.

Suggested Citation

  • Marianne E. Page & Ann Huff Stevens, 2004. "The Economic Consequences of Absent Parents," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:39:y:2004:i:1:p80-107
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Zeldes, Stephen P, 1989. "Consumption and Liquidity Constraints: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, pages 305-346.
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    3. Maddala, G S, 1971. "The Likelihood Approach to Pooling Cross-Section and Time-Series Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(6), pages 939-953, November.
    4. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "Did Unilateral Divorce Raise Divorce Rates? Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 6398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Mary Jo Bane & David T. Ellwood, 1986. "Slipping into and out of Poverty: The Dynamics of Spells," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(1), pages 1-23.
    6. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Melvin Stephens, 2004. "Job Displacement, Disability, and Divorce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 489-522, April.
    7. Larry Bumpass & R. Raley, 1995. "Redefining single-parent families: Cohabitation and changing family reality," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 32(1), pages 97-109, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Aydogan Ulker, 2009. "Wealth Holdings and Portfolio Allocation of the Elderly: The Role of Marital History," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 90-108, March.
    2. Michael Clemens & Erwin Tiongson, 2012. "Split Decisions: Family finance when a policy discontinuity allocates overseas work," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1234, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    3. Botezat, Alina & Pfeiffer, Friedhelm, 2014. "The Impact of Parents Migration on the Well-being of Children Left Behind: Initial Evidence from Romania," IZA Discussion Papers 8225, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Julio Cáceres-Delpiano & Eugenio Giolito, 2012. "The Impact of Unilateral Divorce on Crime," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 215-248.
    5. Sara McLanahan & Jean Knab & Sarah Meadows, 2009. "Economic Trajectories in Non-Traditional Families with Children," Working Papers 1181, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    6. Jungmin Lee, 2013. "The Impact of a Mandatory Cooling-off Period on Divorce," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(1), pages 227-243.
    7. Jonathan Fisher & Angela Lyons, 2006. "Till Debt do us Part: A Model of Divorce and Personal Bankruptcy," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 35-52, March.
    8. Espen Bratberg & Øivind Anti Nilsen & Kjell Vaage, 2012. "Is Recipiency of Disability Pension Hereditary?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3796, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Marco Francesconi & Stephen Jenkins & Thomas Siedler, 2010. "Childhood family structure and schooling outcomes: evidence for Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 23(3), pages 1073-1103, June.
    10. Aydogan Ulker, 2004. "Wealth Holdings and Portfolio Allocation of Older Couples: The Role of Spouses’ Marital History," CEPR Discussion Papers 477, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    11. Schmeer, Kammi, 2009. "Father absence due to migration and child illness in rural Mexico," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 1281-1286.
    12. Francesconi, Marco & Rainer, Helmut & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2008. "Unintended Consequences of Welfare Reform: The Case of Divorced Parents," IZA Discussion Papers 3891, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Kristin Mammen, 2008. "The Long-Term Effects of the Divorce Revolution: Health, Wealth, and Labor Supply," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2008-22, Center for Retirement Research, revised Nov 2008.
    14. Geir Wæhler Gustavsen & Rodolfo M. Nayga & Ximing Wu, 2016. "Effects of Parental Divorce on Teenage Children’s Risk Behaviors: Incidence and Persistence," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 474-487, September.
    15. Marco Francesconi & Helmut Rainer & Wilbert Klaauw, 2015. "Unintended consequences of welfare reform for children with single parents: a theoretical analysis," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 709-733, September.
    16. Jessamyn Schaller, 2013. "For richer, if not for poorer? Marriage and divorce over the business cycle," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(3), pages 1007-1033, July.
    17. Sophia Chae, 2016. "Parental Divorce and Children’s Schooling in Rural Malawi," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(6), pages 1743-1770, December.
    18. Jeremy Arkes & Yu-Chu Shen, 2014. "For Better Or For Worse, But How About A Recession?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(2), pages 275-287, April.
    19. Cáceres-Delpiano, Julio & Giolito, Eugenio P., 2008. "How Unilateral Divorce Affects Children," IZA Discussion Papers 3342, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. repec:pri:crcwel:wp09-10-ff is not listed on IDEAS

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