The Economic Consequences of Absent Parents
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.
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