Fathers&Apos; Multiple-Partner Fertility and Children's Educational Outcomes

51 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2019 Last revised: 17 Apr 2021

See all articles by Donna K. Ginther

Donna K. Ginther

University of Kansas - Department of Economics

Astrid Grasdal

University of Bergen - Department of Economics

Robert A. Pollak

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: September 2019

Abstract

Fathers' multiple-partner fertility (MPF) is associated with substantially worse educational outcomes for children. We focus on children in fathers’ “second families” when the second families are nuclear families – households consisting of a man, a woman, their joint children, and no other children. We analyze outcomes for almost 75,000 Norwegian children all of whom, until they were at least age 18, lived in nuclear families. Children with MPF fathers are more likely than other children from nuclear families to drop out of secondary school (24% vs 17%) and less likely to obtain bachelor’s degrees (44% vs 51%). These gaps remain substantial after controlling for child and parental characteristics such as income and wealth, education and age: 4 percentage points (ppt) for dropping out of secondary school and 5 ppt for obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Resource competition with the children in the father’s first family does not explain the differences in educational outcomes. We find that the association of having a father who had a previous childless marriage is similar to the association of fathers’ MPF and argue that this suggests that selection plays the primary role in explaining the association between fathers' MPF and children's educational outcomes.

Suggested Citation

Ginther, Donna K. and Grasdal, Astrid and Pollak, Robert A., Fathers&Apos; Multiple-Partner Fertility and Children's Educational Outcomes (September 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w26242, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3450268

Donna K. Ginther (Contact Author)

University of Kansas - Department of Economics ( email )

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Astrid Grasdal

University of Bergen - Department of Economics ( email )

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Norway

Robert A. Pollak

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School ( email )

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CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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