NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Will You Miss Me When I Am Gone? The Economic Consequences of Absent Parents

Marianne E. Page, Ann Huff Stevens

NBER Working Paper No. 8786
Issued in February 2002
NBER Program(s):   CH   LS

This paper examines the effects of family structure on the economic resources available to children, using family fixed-effects to control for unobservable characteristics of the family. The effects of divorce on the income and consumption of children born to two-parent households, and the effects of marriage on children born into single-parent households are both considered. In the long-run (six or more years after the most recent divorce) family income falls by 40 to 45% after divorce, and food consumption is reduced by 17%. Six or more years after the most recent marriage, income of children born to single parents rises by 50 to 57%, but there is no statistically significant increase in food consumption. These estimates are substantially less than the difference in income implied by cross-sectional comparisons of different family types. When income changes are measured according to time since the parents first divorce, there is substantial recovery in income, virtually all of which is explained by subsequent remarriages. Similarly, when we look at income several years after a parent's first marriage, the gain is 28 to 33%, reflecting the short-lived nature of many of these marriages.

download in pdf format
   (216 K)

email paper

A non-technical summary of this paper is available in the July 2002 NBER digest.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Digest by email.

This paper is available as PDF (216 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w8786

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Gruber w7968 Is Making Divorce Easier Bad for Children? The Long Run Implications of Unilateral Divorce
Duncan and Hoffman Economic Consequences of Marital Instability
Fernández and Wong w17508 The Disappearing Gender Gap: The Impact of Divorce, Wages, and Preferences on Education Choices and Women's Work
Watson and McLanahan w14773 Marriage Meets the Joneses: Relative Income, Identity, and Marital Status
Stevenson and Wolfers w12944 Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us