Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Family structure and children's education outcome: Evidence from Uruguay

Cid, Alejandro and Stokes, Charles (2012): Family structure and children's education outcome: Evidence from Uruguay. Published in: Journal of Family and Economic Issues No. DOI 10.1007/s10834-012-9326-z (2012)

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As the developed world has experienced a shift away from the traditional two-biological parent family, scholars have sought to understand how children are faring in non-traditional homes. Debate has arisen over assertions that children from non-traditional families do less well in school. Concerns about selection issues as well as a paucity of cross-cultural evidence, have led some scholars to question the influence of family structure on educational attainment. Using data from the 2006 Uruguayan household survey, we evaluate the relationship of family structure with children’s education using two different methods to deal with selection problems, an instrumental variables approach and propensity score matching. Both approaches yield evidence that growing up in non-traditional family structures seems to be negative related with the schooling of Uruguayan boys, with more muted results for girls. Interestingly, Uruguay is a developing country with two peculiarities, that is, a culture that experienced fairly rapid modernization in terms of institutions –including family transition-, especially compared with other South American nations, and meanwhile an intriguing high level of school drop-out, unusually high for Uruguay’s overall level of development.

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