Parental Unions, Financial Transfers, and School Enrollment among Adolescents

Hiromi Ono, University of Michigan

How "family diversity" affects children's well-being remains poorly understood. Proponents of some economic and evolutionary theories note that a parent composition that includes a step-parent is the source of the disadvantage because step-parents invest less in children than do biological parents and their investments yield smaller returns in child well-being. In contrast, proponents of a structural theory of the family suggest that parental union type (i.e., unions other than first marriage) rather than parent composition/type is the source. In this paper, I test two primary competing hypotheses with the first three waves of the National Longitudinal Survey of the Youth, 1997-2001: a) biological parents transfer more money and their transfers are more beneficial to children's academic well-being; and b) differentials do not exist by parent type, but exist by parental union type.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 3: Families, Parenting, Adolescents, and Children