Understanding the Mechanisms of Parental Divorce Effects on Child's Higher Education

44 Pages Posted: 29 May 2019 Last revised: 25 Sep 2022

See all articles by Yen‐Chien Chen

Yen‐Chien Chen

National Chi Nan University

Elliott Fan

National Taiwan University

Jin-Tan Liu

National Taiwan University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2019

Abstract

In this paper we evaluate the degree to which the adverse parental divorce effect on university education operates through deprivation of economic resources. Using one million siblings from Taiwan, we first find that parental divorce occurring at ages 13-18 led to a 10.6 percent decrease in the likelihood of university admission at age 18. We then use the same sample to estimate the effect of parental job loss occurring at the same ages, and use the job-loss effect as a benchmark to indicate the potential parental divorce effect due to family income loss. We find the job-loss effect very little. Combined, these results imply a minor role played by reduced income in driving the parental divorce effect on the child’s higher education outcome. Non-economic mechanisms, such as psychological and mental shocks, are more likely to dominate. Our further examinations show that boys and girls are equally susceptible, and younger teenagers are more vulnerable than the more mature ones, to parental divorce.

Suggested Citation

Chen, Yen‐Chien and Fan, Elliott and Liu, Jin-Tan, Understanding the Mechanisms of Parental Divorce Effects on Child's Higher Education (May 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w25886, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3395645

Yen‐Chien Chen (Contact Author)

National Chi Nan University ( email )

Taiwan
China

Elliott Fan

National Taiwan University ( email )

1 Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road
Taipei 106, 106
Taiwan

Jin-Tan Liu

National Taiwan University ( email )

1 Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road
Taipei 106, 106
Taiwan

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