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Are Happiness and Productivity Lower among University Students with Newly-Divorced Parents? An Experimental Approach

  • Sgroi, Daniel

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

  • Proto, Eugenio

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

  • Oswald, Andrew J.

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick and and Warwick Business School)

We live in a high-divorce age. Parents worry about the possibility of negative effects upon their children. This paper tests whether recent parental-divorce has deleterious consequences for grown children. Under controlled conditions, it measures students’ happiness with life, and their productivity in a standardized laboratory task. No negative effects from divorce can be detected. If anything, happiness and productivity are greater, particularly among males, if they have experienced parental divorce. Using longitudinal BHPS data -- to control for fixed effects -- we cross-check this result on happiness. Again, the evidence suggests that young people’s mental well-being improves after parental divorce.

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File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2010/twerp_937.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 937.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:937
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Web page: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/

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  1. Oswald, Andrew J. & Proto, Eugenio & Sgroi, Daniel, 2008. "Happiness and Productivity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 882, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. Miles Corak, . "Death and Divorce: The Long Term Consequences of Parental Loss on Adolescents," Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 39, McMaster University.
  3. Collishaw, Stephan & Goodman, Robert & Pickles, Andrew & Maughan, Barbara, 2007. "Modelling the contribution of changes in family life to time trends in adolescent conduct problems," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(12), pages 2576-2587, December.
  4. Gonzalez, Libertad & Viitanen, Tarja, 2008. "The Long Term Effects of Legalizing Divorce on Children," IZA Discussion Papers 3789, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Jonathan Gruber, 2004. "Is Making Divorce Easier Bad for Children? The Long-Run Implications of Unilateral Divorce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 799-834, October.
  6. Shirley H. Liu, 2007. "Is My Parents' Divorce to Blame for My Failure in Life? A joint Model of Child Educational Attainments and Parental Divorce," Working Papers 0610, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
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