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

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  • Timo Hener
  • Helmut Rainer
  • Thomas Siedler

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Timo Hener & Helmut Rainer & Thomas Siedler, 2013. "Political Socialization in Flux?: Linking Family Non-Intactness during Childhood to Adult Civic Engagement," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 612, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp612
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    Cited by:

    1. Zareh Asatryan & César Castellón & Thomas Stratmann, 2016. "Balanced Budget Rules and Fiscal Outcomes: Evidence from Historical Constitutions," CESifo Working Paper Series 5893, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Sarah Cattan & Daniel A. Kamhöfer & Martin Karlsson & Therese Nilsson, 2017. "The short- and long-term effects of student absence: evidence from Sweden," IFS Working Papers W17/21, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    3. Alpaslan Akay & Amelie Constant & Corrado Giulietti & Martin Guzi, 2017. "Ethnic diversity and well-being," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(1), pages 265-306, January.
    4. Cattan, Sarah & Kamhöfer, Daniel A. & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese, 2017. "The Short- and Long-Term Effects of Student Absence: Evidence from Sweden," IZA Discussion Papers 10995, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Marieke Voorpostel & Hilde Coffé, 2015. "The Effect of Parental Separation on Young Adults’ Political and Civic Participation," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 124(1), pages 295-316, October.
    6. Cattan, Sarah & Kamhofer, Daniel A. & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese, 2017. "The Short- and Long-term Effects of Student Absence: Evidence from Sweden," Working Paper Series 1188, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Childhood family structure; civic engagement; social capital;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

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