Family Structure and Income During Childhood and Subsequent Prosocial Behavior in Young Adult
Models of young adultsâ€™ prosocial behaviorâ€”charitable giving and volunteeringâ€”are estimated as functions of family structure and income during the stages of childhood. Estimating a model of any subsequent outcome (prosocial or otherwise) as a function of stage-specific family structure and income imposes a set of restrictions on the underlying dynamic model of the child development process. Such restrictions have been implicitly and unknowingly imposed by the family structure specifications used in past research, and in some cases the past restrictions may not be sensible a priori. We consider several specifications used in past research, propose several new specifications with a priori sensible restrictions, and use Bayesian model comparison methods to choose among them. The models are estimated using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and its new module the Center on Philanthropy Panel Study. The results indicate that the development of charitable giving and volunteering behavior is associated with family instability and low income in adolescence.
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