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How Distance to a Non-Residential Parent Relates to Child Outcomes

Author

Listed:
  • Rasmussen, Astrid Würtz

    () (Aarhus University)

  • Stratton, Leslie S.

    () (Virginia Commonwealth University)

Abstract

A substantial and growing fraction of children across Europe and the US live in single parent households. Law practices are evolving to encourage both parents to maintain contact with their children following parental separation/divorce, driven by the belief that such contact is in the best interest of the child. We test this assumption by using information on the distance between non-residential parents and their children to proxy for contact, and measuring educational, behavioral, and health outcomes for a population sample of children from nonnuclear families in Denmark. Instrumental variables techniques are employed to control for the endogeneity of residence. The results indicate that educational and behavioral outcomes are better for children who live farther away from their non-residential parent, but that distance is not related to health outcomes. Failing to control for endogeneity biases the results in favor of more proximate parents. These findings suggest that policy efforts to keep separated parents geographically closer together for the sake of the children may, in fact, not be advantageous.

Suggested Citation

  • Rasmussen, Astrid Würtz & Stratton, Leslie S., 2012. "How Distance to a Non-Residential Parent Relates to Child Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 6965, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6965
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Corak, Miles, 2001. "Death and Divorce: The Long-Term Consequences of Parental Loss on Adolescents," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(3), pages 682-715, July.
    2. Sandra Hofferth, 2006. "Residential father family type and child well-being: Investment versus selection," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 43(1), pages 53-77, February.
    3. Heather Antecol & Kelly Bedard, 2007. "Does single parenthood increase the probability of teenage promiscuity, substance use, and crime?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 20(1), pages 55-71, February.
    4. Joseph Price, 2008. "Parent-Child Quality Time: Does Birth Order Matter?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
    5. Maria Cancian & Daniel Meyer, 1998. "Who gets custody?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 35(2), pages 147-157, May.
    6. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    parental separation; child outcomes; distance;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • 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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