Father Absence and the Educational Gender Gap

35 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2017

See all articles by Shelly J. Lundberg

Shelly J. Lundberg

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; University of Bergen - Department of Economics

Abstract

The educational attainment of young women now exceeds that of young men in most of the developed world, and women account for about 60% of new four-year college graduates in the United States. Several studies have suggested that the increase in single-parent households may be contributing to the growing gender gap in education, as boys are more vulnerable to the negative effects of father absence and economic disadvantage than girls.Using data on recent cohorts of young men and women from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), I find evidence consistent with other studies that boys are relatively more likely to experience problems in school, including school suspensions, when their father is absent, but also that girls are relatively more likely to experience depression in adolescence, particularly in step-father families. By the time Add Health subjects are young adults, there is no evidence that father absence early in life is more strongly associated with lower rates of college graduation for men, compared to women, in either cross-sectional or family fixed-effect models.

Keywords: education, college graduation, gender, family structure, father absence, school quality

JEL Classification: I20, J12, J16

Suggested Citation

Lundberg, Shelly J., Father Absence and the Educational Gender Gap. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10814, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2979961 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2979961

Shelly J. Lundberg (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) ( email )

South Hall 5504
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

University of Bergen - Department of Economics ( email )

Fosswinckelsgt. 6
N-5007 Bergen, 5007
Norway

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