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Family Structure, Family Stability and Early Child Wellbeing

  • Terry-Ann Craigie

    (Princeton University)

  • Jeanne Brooks-Gunn

    (Columbia University)

  • Jane Waldfogel

    (Columbia University)

Registered author(s):

    This study exploits rich data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS) to distinguish the effects of family structure at birth from family stability over time on child cognitive, socio-emotional and health outcomes. We define two models: one that measures family structure at birth only and a second that measures possible changes in family structure since birth. We find that both family structure and stability are important to all child outcomes but for family structure, the results are attenuated by child and demographic characteristics. Family stability effects by contrast, remain significant even after these controls are included and also reveal that the cognitive, socio-emotional and health outcomes of children born to married or cohabiting parents are more adversely affected by changes in family structure over time.

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    File URL: http://crcw.princeton.edu/workingpapers/WP10-14-FF.pdf
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    Paper provided by Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing. in its series Working Papers with number 1275.

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    Date of creation: Nov 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:pri:crcwel:wp10-14-ff
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Wallace Hall, Princeton NJ 08544-1013
    Phone: (609) 258-1456
    Fax: (609) 258-5974
    Web page: http://crcw.princeton.edu/

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    1. Nan Astone & Sara McLanahan, 1994. "Family structure, residential mobility, and school dropout: A research note," Demography, Springer, vol. 31(4), pages 575-584, November.
    2. 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.
    3. Anne Case & I-Fen Lin & Sara McLanahan, 1999. "How Hungry is the Selfish Gene?," NBER Working Papers 7401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. John F. Ermisch & Marco Francesconi, 2001. "Family structure and children's achievements," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 249-270.
    5. Cynthia Osborne & Sara McLanahan, 2007. "Partnership Instability and Child Well-being," Working Papers 946, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    6. Laura Tach & Ronald Mincy & Kathryn Edin, 2010. "Parenting as A “package deal”: Relationships, fertility, and nonresident father involvement among unmarried parents," Demography, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 181-204, February.
    7. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
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