Growing up in a blended family or a stepfamily: What is the impact on education?
This paper studies the effects of growing up in a blended family or a stepfamily on children’s educational outcomes. I use a random sample of 40,000 Swedish children born in the mid-1960s matched to their full and half-siblings born in 1960-1970, in total 76,000 children. Childhood family and siblings structure is inferred using the censuses combined with the Swedish multigenerational register. The children are followed into adulthood and their education examined. The cross-section results indicate that growing up with half-siblings is negatively correlated with education and living with both biological parents and no half-siblings is associated with more schooling than living with a single parent or a stepparent. To assess causality I estimate sibling-difference models and find that the negative correlations disappear which is consistent with selection explaining the cross-section results. Narrowing the siblings sample to children in stable blended families reveals that joint children obtain significantly more schooling than stepchildren. In stable stepfather blended families the difference is even larger. Possible explanations for these interesting findings are that fathers are more willing and able to support their children with their current spouse and that stepfathers do not share their income equally between their biological children and their stepchildren.
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