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Early Health and School Outcomes for Children with Lesbian Parents: Evidence from Sweden

Author

Listed:
  • Aldén, Lina

    () (Linnaeus University)

  • Björklund, Anders

    () (SOFI, Stockholm University)

  • Hammarstedt, Mats

    () (Linnaeus University)

Abstract

Sweden was early to legalize same-sex partnership (1995), to allow same-sex couples to adopt children (2003), and to offer same-sex couples fertility treatment through the national health system (2005). Using population data, we identify children of lesbian parents as those whose biological mother was a registered same-sex partner no later than six months after the child's birth. The number of such children increased markedly from 1995 to 2010 with a total of 750 children for the whole period. We find that boys and girls with lesbian parents had 2.4 percent lower birth weight than other children, a difference that is statistically significant from zero at the 5 percent level. Girls, but not boys, also have a higher probability of having a low birth weight. We follow these children until age ten and observe diseases of the respiratory system. Boys with lesbian parents have a significantly lower probability of such diseases (-3.4 percentage points), and girls with lesbian parents an insignificantly higher probability (+2.4 percentage points). Our analysis of school outcomes at age ten uses a small sample so precision is low. The point estimates show that boys with lesbian parents outperform other children by around 10 percentiles higher test scores in Math and Swedish. These differences are barely significant, while estimates for girls are lower and not significant. For all outcomes, we find that children with lesbian parents benefit from their mother's socio-economic status, whereas they suffer in terms of birth weight from having been exposed to fertility treatment.

Suggested Citation

  • Aldén, Lina & Björklund, Anders & Hammarstedt, Mats, 2017. "Early Health and School Outcomes for Children with Lesbian Parents: Evidence from Sweden," IZA Discussion Papers 10616, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10616
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mats Hammarstedt & Ali M. Ahmed & Lina Andersson, 2015. "Sexual Prejudice and Labor Market Outcomes for Gays and Lesbians: Evidence from Sweden," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(1), pages 90-109, January.
    2. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "The More the Merrier? The Effect of Family Size and Birth Order on Children's Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 669-700.
    3. Douglas Allen, 2013. "High school graduation rates among children of same-sex households," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 635-658, December.
    4. Martin Nybom & Jan Stuhler, 2016. "Heterogeneous Income Profiles and Lifecycle Bias in Intergenerational Mobility Estimation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(1), pages 239-268.
    5. Ali M. Ahmed & Mats Hammarstedt, 2009. "Detecting Discrimination against Homosexuals: Evidence from a Field Experiment on the Internet," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(303), pages 588-597, July.
    6. Prashant Bharadwaj & Petter Lundborg & Dan-Olof Rooth, 2018. "Birth Weight in the Long Run," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 53(1), pages 189-231.
    7. Michael Rosenfeld, 2010. "Nontraditional families and childhood progress through school," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 47(3), pages 755-775, August.
    8. Gunnar Andersson & Turid Noack & Ane Seierstad & Harald Weedon-Fekjær, 2006. "The demographics of same-sex marriages in Norway and Sweden," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 43(1), pages 79-98, February.
    9. Lina Aldén & Lena Edlund & Mats Hammarstedt & Michael Mueller-Smith, 2015. "Effect of Registered Partnership on Labor Earnings and Fertility for Same-Sex Couples: Evidence From Swedish Register Data," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(4), pages 1243-1268, August.
    10. Corinne Reczek & Russell Spiker & Hui Liu & Robert Crosnoe, 2016. "Family Structure and Child Health: Does the Sex Composition of Parents Matter?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(5), pages 1605-1630, October.
    11. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie, 2011. "Killing Me Softly: The Fetal Origins Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 153-172, Summer.
    12. Ali Ahmed & Mats Hammarstedt, 2010. "Sexual orientation and earnings: a register data-based approach to identify homosexuals," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 23(3), pages 835-849, June.
    13. Douglas Allen & Catherine Pakaluk & Joseph Price, 2013. "Nontraditional Families and Childhood Progress Through School: A Comment on Rosenfeld," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(3), pages 955-961, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    lesbian parents; birth weight; early child outcomes;

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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