How Distance to a Non-Residential Parent Relates to Child Outcomes
Family courts now encourage both parents to maintain contact with their children following separation/divorce, driven by the belief that such contact benefits the child. We test this assumption with a population sample of children from nonnuclear families in Denmark, using distance between non-residential parents and their children to proxy for contact. The results indicate significantly better educational and behavioral outcomes for children at a greater distance. Failing to control for endogeneity biases the results in favor of more proximate parents. These findings suggest that policy efforts to keep separated parents geographically closer for their children’s sake may not be advantageous.
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