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Author: Ronan, Nick
Resulting in 1 citation.
1. Grogger, Jeffrey
Ronan, Nick
Intergenerational Effects of Fatherlessness on Educational Attainment and Entry-level Wages
NLS Discussion Paper No. 96-30, Washington DC: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1995.
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: U.S. Department of Labor
Keyword(s): Children, Academic Development; Children, Well-Being; Divorce; Educational Attainment; Educational Costs; Family Characteristics; Family Structure; Fathers, Absence; Heterogeneity; Human Capital; Parents, Single; Siblings

Final Report to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, September 1, 1995. The objective of this study is to estimate the effects of fatherlessness on the children's educational attainment and entry-level wages. We consider an important methodological issue not addressed by previous researchers: unobserved heterogeneity across families. One can imagine that families vary greatly in a number of ways that are unobservable to the analyst. Moreover, many of these unobservable family characteristics are likely to be correlated both with the probability of divorce and with the well-being of the children. Thus a cross-sectional regression of children's educational attainment on a measure of their childhood family structure fails to identify the effects of living in a fatherless family, because the effects of fatherlessness are confounded with the effects of the family-specific unobservables. We would generally expect such unobserved heterogeneity to lead to exaggerated estimates of the true effects of fatherlessness. We adjust for family-specific unobservables by making within-family comparisons. Drawing on previous research, we specify a child's human capital to depend on the number of years she spends in a single-parent family. Because children enter and leave the family at different times, the duration of a spell of fatherlessness generally will vary among siblings. To eliminate the effects of family-specific unobservables, we difference the data within families, relating differences in human capital to differences in the duration of the fatherless spell. The approach we adopt instead is method-of-moments estimation. We implement this approach by using sibling comparisons to estimate the extent of the measurement error in our retrospective data. The data are taken from the NLSY.
Bibliography Citation
Grogger, Jeffrey and Nick Ronan. "Intergenerational Effects of Fatherlessness on Educational Attainment and Entry-level Wages." NLS Discussion Paper No. 96-30, Washington DC: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1995.