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Parental Separation and Children's Educational Attainment: A Siblings Analysis on Swedish Register Data

  • Björklund, Anders


    (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)

  • Sundström, Marianne


    (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)

This article analyzes whether the commonly found negative relationship between parental separation in childhood and educational outcomes is causal or mainly due to selection. We use data on about 100,000 Swedish full biological siblings, born in 1948-63, and perform cross-section and sibling-difference estimations. Outcomes are measured as educational attainment in 1996. Our cross-section analysis show the expected negative and significant relationship, while the relationship is not significant, though precisely estimated, in the sibling-difference analysis. This finding was robust to the sensitivity tests performed and is consistent with selection, rather than causation, being the explanation for the negative relationship. JEL Classification: Keywords:

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Paper provided by Swedish Institute for Social Research in its series Working Paper Series with number 4/2004.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 26 Apr 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sofiwp:2004_004
Contact details of provider: Postal: SOFI, Stockholm University, SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: (0)8 - 16 32 48
Fax: (0)8 - 15 46 70
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  1. 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.
  2. Donna K. Ginther & Robert A. Pollak, 2003. "Does Family Structure Affect Children's Educational Outcomes?," NBER Working Papers 9628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Philip K. Robins & David H. Greenberg & Paul Fronstin, 2001. "Parental disruption and the labour market performance of children when they reach adulthood," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 137-172.
  4. Winkelmann, Rainer, 2003. "Parental Separation and Well-Being of Youths," IZA Discussion Papers 894, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. John F. Ermisch & Marco Francesconi, 2001. "Family structure and children's achievements," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 249-270.
  6. Anne Case & I-Fen Lin & Sara McLanahan, 2000. "Educational Attainment in Blended Families," NBER Working Papers 7874, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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