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Family structure and child cognitive outcomes: Evidence from Canadian longitudinal data

Author

Listed:
  • Ferrer, Ana M.
  • Pan, Yazhuo

Abstract

This study investigates the role of family structure on cognitive outcomes of children. Using the rich panel data information from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY), collected on children and their families biennially since 1994, we investigate the association between a child's math & reading performance and family structure and changes in family structure. We find that children who stay-in or move-to non-intact families have lower reading scores than those who stay in intact families. Although initial findings indicate that family structure appears to have overall little effect on children's math performance, analysis by gender reveals that girls' performance appears to be more affected than boys' by their parents' divorce/remarriage or the presence of step-family members. Moreover, analysis by heritage reveals that family structure affects the math performance of children of French heritage differently from those of other Canadian heritage, while the impact on reading scores is similar between these two groups. A similar result follows our analysis of religious groups. The impact of family structure differs between children in Catholic families and those in Non-Catholic families for math performance, but is similar for reading performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Ferrer, Ana M. & Pan, Yazhuo, 2018. "Family structure and child cognitive outcomes: Evidence from Canadian longitudinal data," CLEF Working Paper Series 16, Canadian Labour Economics Forum (CLEF), University of Waterloo.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:clefwp:16
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/203346/1/CLEF-016-2018-Fall-Ferrer-Pan.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Marianne Bertrand & Jessica Pan, 2013. "The Trouble with Boys: Social Influences and the Gender Gap in Disruptive Behavior," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 32-64, January.
    2. 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.
    3. Michael Baker & Kevin Milligan, 2016. "Boy-Girl Differences in Parental Time Investments: Evidence from Three Countries," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(4), pages 399-441.
    4. Anna Sanz‐de‐Galdeano & Daniela Vuri, 2007. "Parental Divorce and Students’ Performance: Evidence from Longitudinal Data," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 69(3), pages 321-338, June.
    5. Kelly Chen & Nicole Fortin & Shelley Phipps, 2015. "Young in class: Implications for inattentive/hyperactive behaviour of Canadian boys and girls," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 48(5), pages 1601-1634, December.
    6. Lundberg, Shelly, 2017. "Father Absence and the Educational Gender Gap," IZA Discussion Papers 10814, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Family structure; transition in family structure; family instability; academic performance of children;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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