Consequences of Family Disruption on Children's Educational Outcomes in Norway

Wendy Sigle-Rushton, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
Fiona Steele, University of Bristol
Oystein Kravdal, University of Oslo

Using high quality data from Norwegian population registers, we examine the relationship between family disruption and children’s educational outcomes. We distinguish between disruptions caused by parental divorce and paternal death and, using a simultaneous equation model, pay particular attention to selection bias in the effect of divorce. We also allow for the possibility that disruption may have different effects at different stages of a child’s educational career. Our results suggest that selection on time-invariant maternal characteristics is important and works to overstate the effects of divorce on a child’s chances of continuing in education. Nevertheless, we find that the experience of marital breakdown during childhood is associated with lower levels of education, and that the effect weakens with the child’s age at disruption. The effects of divorce are most pronounced for the transitions during or just beyond the high school level.

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Presented in Session 85: Family Structure and Child Well-Being