Family Transitions and Child Well-Being: Evidence from Adolescents

33 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2008 Last revised: 28 Apr 2009

Date Written: March 1, 2009


This paper uses panel data from the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS) for 1988-2000 to examine the effects of family transitions during the teenage years on adolescent short-term high school performance and long-term adult outcomes. To deal with the potential endogeneity problem, I use OLS and first-difference models. The distinct feature of the NELS data allows for testing the OLS and first-difference estimates. The results indicate that parental death, in the short run, is associated with low test scores and this association can be interpreted as causality. Parental separation and parental job loss, in contrast, are associated with lower educational attainment in the future.

Keywords: Family transitions, parental separation, parental death, adolescents

JEL Classification: J12, J13, I30

Suggested Citation

Tsai, Yuping, Family Transitions and Child Well-Being: Evidence from Adolescents (March 1, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Yuping Tsai (Contact Author)

Spelman College ( email )

350 Spelman Lane S.W.
Atlanta, GA 30314-4399
United States


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