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New Estimates on the Effect of Parental Separation on Child Health

  • Shirley H. Liu

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Miami)

  • Frank Heiland

    ()

    (Department of Economics and Center of Demography and Population Health, Florida State University)

This study examines the causal link between parental non-marital relationship dissolution and the health status of young children. Using a representative sample of children all born out of wedlock drawn from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, we investigate whether separation between unmarried biological parents has a causal effect on a child’s likelihood of developing asthma. Adopting a potential outcome framework to account for selection of relationship dissolution, we find that children whose parents separate within three years after childbirth are seven percent more likely to develop asthma by age three, compared to if their parents had remained romantically involved. We provide evidence that socioeconomically disadvantaged fathers are more likely to see the relationship with their child’s mother end, and selection into relationship dissolution along these dimensions helps explain the poorer health outcomes found among out-of-wedlock children whose parents separate.

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File URL: http://moya.bus.miami.edu/~sliu/Research_files/bookvolume3.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Miami, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0719.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 22 Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming in "Casual Analysis in Population Studies: Concepts, Methods, Applications", European Studies of Population
Handle: RePEc:mia:wpaper:0719
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Web page: http://www.bus.miami.edu/faculty-and-research/academic-departments/economics/index.html

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  1. Michael LECHNER, 2008. "A Note on the Common Support Problem in Applied Evaluation Studies," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 91-92, pages 217-235.
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  8. Shirley H. Liu & Frank Heiland, 2012. "Should We Get Married? The Effect Of Parents' Marriage On Out‐Of‐Wedlock Children," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(1), pages 17-38, 01.
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  10. Frank Heiland & Shirley H. Liu, 2006. "Family structure and wellbeing of out-of-wedlock children," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 15(4), pages 61-104, September.
  11. James J. Heckman, 1989. "Choosing Among Alternative Nonexperimental Methods for Estimating the Impact of Social Programs: The Case of Manpower Training," NBER Working Papers 2861, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  18. Reichman, Nancy E. & Teitler, Julien O. & Garfinkel, Irwin & McLanahan, Sara S., 2001. "Fragile Families: sample and design," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4-5), pages 303-326.
  19. David I. Levine & Gary Painter, 2003. "The Schooling Costs of Teenage Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing: Analysis with a Within-School Propensity-Score-Matching Estimator," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 884-900, November.
  20. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 1998. "Causal Effects in Non-Experimental Studies: Re-Evaluating the Evaluation of Training Programs," NBER Working Papers 6586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Johnson, Waldo E., 2001. "Paternal involvement among unwed fathers," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(6-7), pages 513-536.
  22. Marcia Carlson & Sara Mclanahan & Paula England, 2004. "Union formation in fragile families," Demography, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 237-261, May.
  23. Ribar, David C., 2004. "What Do Social Scientists Know About the Benefits of Marriage? A Review of Quantitative Methodologies," IZA Discussion Papers 998, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  24. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra, 1998. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 261-94, April.
  25. Sara McLanahan & Irwin Garfinkel & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn & Hongxin Zhao & Waldo Johnson, 1998. "Unwed Fathers And Fragile Families," Working Papers 991, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
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  28. Neidell, Matthew J., 2004. "Air pollution, health, and socio-economic status: the effect of outdoor air quality on childhood asthma," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 1209-1236, November.
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