Family Structure and Youths' Outcomes: Which Correlations are Causal?

UC Berkeley Working Paper No. 69

34 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 1999  

David I. Levine

University of California, Berkeley - Economic Analysis & Policy Group

Gary Painter

University of Southern California - Sol Price School of Public Policy

Date Written: September 1998

Abstract

Growing up in a family that lacks a biological father is correlated with a number of poor outcomes for youths. This study uses the National Educational Longitudinal Survey of 1988 (NELS) to examine the extent to which the apparent effects of divorce or remarriage are not causal, but are due to pre-existing problems or advantages of the family or youth. We find that the correlations between family structure and youth outcomes are causal: neither divorce nor remarriage appear to be related to pre-existing characteristics of the youth or family. Finally, unlike some previous research, we do not find gender differences in the effects of the presence of a father or stepfather.

JEL Classification: J12, J16

Suggested Citation

Levine, David I. and Painter, Gary, Family Structure and Youths' Outcomes: Which Correlations are Causal? (September 1998). UC Berkeley Working Paper No. 69. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=139548 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.139548

David Ian Levine (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Economic Analysis & Policy Group ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
510-642-1697 (Phone)
510-643-1420 (Fax)

Gary Painter

University of Southern California - Sol Price School of Public Policy ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626
United States
213-740-8754 (Phone)
213-740-0001 (Fax)

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