How Distance to a Non-Residential Parent Relates to Child Outcomes

40 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2012

See all articles by Astrid Würtz Rasmussen

Astrid Würtz Rasmussen

Aarhus University

Leslie S. Stratton

Virginia Commonwealth University - School of Business - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

A substantial and growing fraction of children across Europe and the US live in single parent households. Law practices are evolving to encourage both parents to maintain contact with their children following parental separation/divorce, driven by the belief that such contact is in the best interest of the child. We test this assumption by using information on the distance between non-residential parents and their children to proxy for contact, and measuring educational, behavioral, and health outcomes for a population sample of children from nonnuclear families in Denmark. Instrumental variables techniques are employed to control for the endogeneity of residence. The results indicate that educational and behavioral outcomes are better for children who live farther away from their non-residential parent, but that distance is not related to health outcomes. Failing to control for endogeneity biases the results in favor of more proximate parents. These findings suggest that policy efforts to keep separated parents geographically closer together for the sake of the children may, in fact, not be advantageous.

Keywords: child outcomes, parental separation, distance

JEL Classification: D13, I12, I21, J12, J13

Suggested Citation

Rasmussen, Astrid Würtz and Stratton, Leslie S., How Distance to a Non-Residential Parent Relates to Child Outcomes. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6965, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2170653

Astrid Würtz Rasmussen (Contact Author)

Aarhus University ( email )

Fuglesangs Alle 4
Aarhus V, 8210
Denmark

Leslie S. Stratton

Virginia Commonwealth University - School of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 844000
Richmond, VA 23284-4000
United States
804-828-7141 (Phone)
804-828-1719 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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