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Leaving mum alone? The effect of parental divorce on childrenís leaving home decisions

  • Letizia Mencarini
  • Elena Meroni
  • Chiara Pronzato

There is a growing literature considering the relationship between parental divorce and childrenís life-course patterns. However, there is no general consensus on whether parental separation accelerates or postpones childrenís transition to adulthood. The aim of this paper is to add to this literature by analyzing the effect of parental divorce on the timing of nest-leaving of young adults. After providing descriptive findings using the recent Gender and Generations Survey (GGS) for five European countries (France, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Russia), we assess the extent to which the associations between divorce and nest-leaving timing is masked by different effects. First, do children of divorced parents develop different characteristics (e.g., human capital construction and socialization) which in turn make them leave the parental home at a different rate? Secondly, do children of divorced people leave the parental home at a different age because of the new family structure? Our findings show that children who experienced divorce leave home at a faster rate, but the last child in the household ñ who would leave the mother alone ñ delays his/her departure.

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Paper provided by "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in its series Working Papers with number 045.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:don:donwpa:045
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  1. Rainer, Helmut & Siedler, Thomas, 2005. "O Brother, Where Art Thou? The Effects of Having a Sibling on Geographic Mobility and Labor Market Outcomes," Economics Discussion Papers 8891, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  2. Aassve, Arnstein & Betti, Gianni & Mazzuco, Stefano & Mencarini, Letizia, 2006. "Marital disruption and economic well-being: a comparative analysis," ISER Working Paper Series 2006-07, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
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  4. Andrew Cherlin & Kathleen Kiernan & P. Chase-Lansdale, 1995. "Parental divorce in childhood and demographic outcomes in young adulthood," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 32(3), pages 299-318, August.
  5. Francesco C. Billari & Dimiter Philipov & Pau Baizán Munoz, 2001. "Leaving home in Europe: the experience of cohorts born around 1960," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-014, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  6. William Axinn & Arland Thornton, 1996. "The influence of parents’ marital dissolutions on children’s attitudes toward family formation," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 33(1), pages 66-81, February.
  7. Fiona Steele & Wendy Sigle-Rushton & Øystein Kravdal, 2009. "Consequences of family disruption on children’s educational outcomes in norway," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 46(3), pages 553-574, August.
  8. Alison Aughinbaugh & Charles Pierret & Donna Rothstein, 2005. "The impact of family structure transitions on youth achievement: Evidence from the children of the NlSY79," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 42(3), pages 447-468, August.
  9. Kathleen E Kiernan, 1997. "The Legacy of Parental Divorce: Social, economic and demographic experiences in adulthood," CASE Papers case01, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
  10. Sara McLanahan, 1988. "Family structure and dependency: Early transitions to female household headship," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 25(1), pages 1-16, February.
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