IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Political Socialization in Flux?: Linking Family Non-Intactness during Childhood to Adult Civic Engagement

  • Timo Hener
  • Helmut Rainer
  • Thomas Siedler

Over the last several decades, there has been a widespread decrease in civic engagement coinciding with a breakdown in traditional family structures in many countriesthroughout the developed world. According to Putnam in Bowling alone (2000), however, none of the major declines in civic engagement can be accounted for by the decline in traditional family structures. In this paper, we seek to contribute a robust picture of how adult civic engagement is affected by growing up in a non-intact family. Using 26 waves of annual longitudinal data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, we construct various measures of family structure during childhood, and perform both cross-sectional and sibling difference analyses for different indicators of young adults' civic engagement. Both exercises reveal a significant negative relationship between growing up in a non-intact family and children's civic, social and political engagement as adults. We argue that this finding is consistent with causation rather than selection as the explanation for the negative relationship, and provide several robustness checks to support this claim.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 612.

in new window

Length: 41 p.
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp612
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Mohrenstraße 58, D-10117 Berlin

Phone: xx49-30-89789-671
Fax: xx49-30-89789-109
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jeffrey B. Liebman & Lawrence F. Katz, 2005. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects," NBER Working Papers 11577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Borghans, Lex & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James J. & Weel, Bas ter, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," MERIT Working Papers 010, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  3. Weiss, Yoram & Willis, Robert J, 1985. "Children as Collective Goods and Divorce Settlements," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(3), pages 268-92, July.
  4. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," NBER Working Papers 7666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bedard, Kelly & Deschenes, Olivier, 2003. "Sex Preferences, Marital Dissolution and the Economic Status of Women," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt07g2372x, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  6. Bellows, John & Miguel, Edward, 2009. "War and local collective action in Sierra Leone," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1144-1157, December.
  7. Del Boca, Daniela & Flinn, Christopher J, 1995. "Rationalizing Child-Support Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1241-62, December.
  8. Adda, Jérôme & Björklund, Anders & Holmlund, Helena, 2011. "The Role of Mothers and Fathers in Providing Skills: Evidence from Parental Deaths," IZA Discussion Papers 5425, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher & Phillip B. Levine, 2002. "Maternal employment and overweight children," Working Paper Series WP-02-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  10. Francesconi, Marco & Jenkins, Stephen P & Siedler, Thomas, 2005. "Childhood Family Structure and Schooling Outcomes: Evidence for Germany," CEPR Discussion Papers 5362, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
  12. Ermisch, John & Francesconi, Marco, 2001. "Family Matters: Impacts of Family Background on Educational Attainments," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(270), pages 137-56, May.
  13. Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-87, December.
  14. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
  15. Alberto Alesina & Paola Giuliano, 2011. "Family Ties And Political Participation," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(5), pages 817-839, October.
  16. John Ermisch & Marco Francesconi & David J. Pevalin, 2004. "Parental partnership and joblessness in childhood and their influence on young people's outcomes," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 167(1), pages 69-101.
  17. Thomas Siedler, 2011. "Parental unemployment and young people's extreme right‐wing party affinity: evidence from panel data," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 174(3), pages 737-758, 07.
  18. Pollak, Robert A, 1985. "A Transaction Cost Approach to Families and Households," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 581-608, June.
  19. Jonathan Gruber, 2004. "Is Making Divorce Easier Bad for Children? The Long-Run Implications of Unilateral Divorce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 799-834, October.
  20. John F. Ermisch & Marco Francesconi, 2001. "Family structure and children's achievements," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 14(2), pages 249-270.
  21. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile & Phongsack Manivong & Leslie L. Roos, 2010. "Child Health and Young Adult Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(3).
  22. Iacovou, Maria & Skew, Alexandra J., 2010. "Household structure in the EU," ISER Working Paper Series 2010-10, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  23. Gunnar Andersson, 2002. "Children's experience of family disruption and family formation: Evidence from 16 FFS countries," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 7(7), pages 343-364, August.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp612. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bibliothek)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.