Political Socialization in Flux? Linking Family Non-Intactness During Childhood to Adult Civic Engagement

42 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2012

See all articles by Timo Hener

Timo Hener

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Helmut Rainer

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute

Thomas Siedler

University of Hamburg - Faculty of Business, Economics, and Social Sciences; DIW Berlin; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); University of Essex

Date Written: August 31, 2012

Abstract

Over the last several decades, there has been a widespread decrease in civic engagement coinciding with a breakdown in traditional family structures in many countries throughout the developed world. According to Putnam in Bowling alone (2000), however, none of the major declines in civic engagement can be accounted for by the decline in traditional family structures. In this paper, we seek to contribute a robust picture of how adult civic engagement is affected by growing up in a non-intact family. Using 26 waves of annual longitudinal data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, we construct various measures of family structure during childhood, and perform both cross-sectional and sibling difference analyses for different indicators of young adults’ civic engagement. Both exercises reveal a significant negative relationship between growing up in a non-intact family and children’s civic, social and political engagement as adults. We argue that this finding is consistent with causation rather than selection as the explanation for the negative relationship, and provide several robustness checks to support this claim.

Keywords: childhood family structure, civic engagement, social capital

JEL Classification: J120

Suggested Citation

Hener, Timo and Rainer, Helmut and Siedler, Thomas, Political Socialization in Flux? Linking Family Non-Intactness During Childhood to Adult Civic Engagement (August 31, 2012). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3918. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2144148

Timo Hener

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Helmut Rainer (Contact Author)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, 01069
Germany

Thomas Siedler

University of Hamburg - Faculty of Business, Economics, and Social Sciences ( email )

Von-Melle-Park 9
Hamburg, 20146
Germany

DIW Berlin ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

University of Essex ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

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