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Does family structure affect children's educational outcomes?

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  • Donna K. Ginther
  • Robert A. Pollak

Abstract

In this paper we examine the effect of family structure on children’s educational outcomes by exploiting the sibling structure in the NLSY and NLSY-Child to control for unobserved heterogeneity across families and individuals. We also compare outcomes for children within the same family—stepchildren with their half-siblings in the same blended family who are the biological children of both parents. Using panel data methods to control for unobserved heterogeneity across families, we find that family structure effects are statistically insignificant. Finally, comparing half-siblings in our data, we find no difference in educational outcomes as a function of family structure. Our empirical results are consistent with at least two interpretations. First, they can be interpreted as evidence that estimates of family structure effects reflect selection rather than causation. Second, they can be interpreted as evidence that the presence of stepchildren disrupts families.

Suggested Citation

  • Donna K. Ginther & Robert A. Pollak, 2000. "Does family structure affect children's educational outcomes?," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2000-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2000-13
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Yuxin Li & Karen Mumford, "undated". "Aspirations, Expectations and Education Outcomes for Children in Britain: Considering Relative Measures of Family Efficiency," Discussion Papers 09/26, Department of Economics, University of York.
    2. repec:zbw:espost:168322 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Kan, Kamhon & Tsai, Wei-Der, 2005. "Parenting practices and children's education outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 29-43, February.
    4. Akresh, Richard, 2004. "Adjusting Household Structure: School Enrollment Impacts of Child Fostering in Burkina Faso," IZA Discussion Papers 1379, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Peter, Frauke H. & Spieß, C. Katharina, 2016. "Family Instability and Locus of Control in Adolescence," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 1439-1471.
    6. John Ermisch, 2003. "How Do Parents Affect the Life Chances of Their Children as Adults? An Idiosyncratic Review," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 101, McMaster University.
    7. Constant, Amelie F. & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2003. "Occupational Choice Across Generations," IZA Discussion Papers 975, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Björklund, Anders & Sundström, Marianne, 2002. "Parental Separation and Children's Educational Attainment: A Siblings Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 643, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Xin Meng & Chikako Yamauchi, 2015. "Children of Migrants: The Cumulative Impact of Parental Migration on their Children's Education and Health Outcomes," GRIPS Discussion Papers 15-07, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
    10. Angela R. Fertig, 2004. "Is Intergenerational Earnings Mobility Affected by Divorce?," Working Papers 953, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    11. Heather Antecol & Kelly Bedard, 2002. "Does Single Parenthood Increase the Probability of Teenage Promiscuity, Drug Use and Crime?," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2002-23, Claremont Colleges.
    12. Philippe Mahler & Rainer Winkelmann, 2004. "Secondary School Track Selection of Single-Parent Children � Evidence from the German Socio-Economic Panel," SOI - Working Papers 0415, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich, revised Oct 2005.
    13. Ribar, David C., 2004. "What Do Social Scientists Know About the Benefits of Marriage? A Review of Quantitative Methodologies," IZA Discussion Papers 998, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    19. Björklund, Anders & Ginther, Donna K. & Sundström, Marianne, 2004. "Family Structure and Child Outcomes in the United States and Sweden," IZA Discussion Papers 1259, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Mohanty, Madhu S. & Ullah, Aman, 2012. "Direct and indirect effects of happiness on wage: A simultaneous equations approach," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 143-152.
    21. Meng, Xin & Yamauchi, Chikako, 2015. "Children of Migrants: The Impact of Parental Migration on Their Children's Education and Health Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 9165, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Child care ; Demography ; Education ; Human capital;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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