The Effects of Combinations of Changes in Parental Jobs, Partnership Statuses, and Residence on Children’s Educational Attainment

Juli Simon Thomas, University of California, Los Angeles

Socioeconomic status, household composition, and residence are not necessarily stable across childhood. Changes in parental employment, relationship status, and residence have been shown to affect children’s educational attainment. Less studied is the fact that these events can occur in combination: one event could prompt another, or families could experience more than one of these disruptive events independently. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), I confirm that job loss and gain, partner loss and gain, and residential moves have a negative effect on children’s high school completion, and college attendance and completion. I then show that combinations of events lead to an increased negative effect. Finally, I show that, generally, an increased number of disruptive events has a progressively negative effect on educational outcomes. These findings suggest that event combinations matter for children; this should be considered when examining the impact of disruptive events in isolation.

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Presented in Session 232: Families and Education