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

39 Pages Posted: 18 May 2015

See all articles by Timo Hener

Timo Hener

Department of Economics and Business Economics; Ifo Institute; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute

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

Abstract

Some sociologists argue that non-intact family structures during childhood have a negative effect on adult children's civic engagement, since they undermine, and in some cases prevent, the processes and activities through which parents shape their children's political attitudes and orientations. In this paper, we evaluate this hypothesis on the basis of longitudinal data from the German Socio-Economic Panel.In a first step, 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 political engagement as adults. In a second step, we implement a novel technique – proposed by Oster (2014) – for evaluating robustness of results to omitted variable bias. The distinctive feature of this technique is that it accounts for both coefficient movements and movements in R-squared values after the inclusion of controls. Results suggest that our estimates do not suffer from omitted variable bias.

Keywords: civic engagement, family non-intactness, omitted variable bias, family fixed effects

JEL Classification: J12, C23

Suggested Citation

Hener, Timo and Rainer, Helmut and Siedler, Thomas, Political Socialization in Flux? Linking Family Non-Intactness During Childhood to Adult Civic Engagement. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9042. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2606895

Timo Hener (Contact Author)

Department of Economics and Business Economics ( email )

Nordre Ringgade 1
Aarhus, 8000
Denmark

Ifo Institute ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, 01069
Germany

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

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, 01069
Germany

Helmut Rainer

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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