Does Family Structure Really Influence Educational Attainment?

  • Sandefur G
  • Wells T
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This paper examines the effects of family structure on educational attainment after controlling for common family influences, observed and unobserved, using data from siblings. The use of sibling data permits us to examine whether the apparent effects of family structure are due to unmeasured characteristics of families that are common to siblings. The data come from pairs of siblings in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979-1992. The results suggest that taking into account the unmeasured family characteristics yields estimates of the effects of family structure on educational attainment that are smaller, but still statistically significant, than estimates based on analyses that do not take unmeasured family influences into account. © 1999 Academic Press.

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  • Gary D. Sandefur

  • Thomas Wells

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