Volume 40 - Article 35 | Pages 1015–1046

Family arrangements and children’s educational outcomes: Heterogeneous penalties in upper-secondary school

By Raffaele Guetto, Nazareno Panichella

Print this page  Facebook  Twitter

 

 
Date received:26 Jul 2018
Date published:18 Apr 2019
Word count:8927
Keywords:cohabitation, divorce, education, inequality, Italy, maternal age
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2019.40.35
 

Abstract

Background: This paper studies whether new family patterns fostered inequality of educational opportunities in upper-secondary education in Italy.

Objective: To analyse the association between children’s educational outcomes and a wide range of family arrangements, including the time of exposure to marriage (never married, married before or after the birth). Empirical analyses also consider whether these demographic characteristics of the origin family more strongly affect children from more or less well-off families, and whether these effects change when different educational outcomes are considered.

Methods: Analyses are based on the Italian Labour Force Survey (2005–2014) and apply Linear Probability Models on a sample of 123,045 children aged 15 and 16.

Results: Children living in single-parent households or with two cohabiting biological parents have worse educational outcomes compared to children of two married biological parents. Children of highly educated parents are more penalized if access to the most prestigious academic track is considered, whereas the penalty is stronger among children of low-educated parents if the risk of not being enrolled in upper-secondary schools that give access to university is analysed. Finally, the analysis of the exposure to marriage suggests that social selectivity may drive the negative effects of cohabitation.

Contribution: Results provide limited support to the argument that new family patterns increase social inequalities. Living in ‘nonstandard’ family arrangements does worsen children’s educational outcomes, but substantial heterogeneity in their effects has been found, depending on the combination between social background and the educational outcome considered.

Author's Affiliation

Raffaele Guetto - Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy [Email]
Nazareno Panichella - Università degli Studi di Milano (UNIMI), Italy [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» The impact of citizenship on intermarriage: Quasi-experimental evidence from two European Union Eastern enlargements
Volume 36 - Article 43

» The educational integration of second generation southern Italian migrants to the north
Volume 33 - Article 39

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» Joint lifestyles and the risk of union dissolution: Differences between marriage and cohabitation
Volume 39 - Article 15    | Keywords: cohabitation, divorce

» The effect of the Great Recession on permanent childlessness in Italy
Volume 37 - Article 20    | Keywords: education, Italy

» The change in single mothers’ educational gradient over time in Spain
Volume 36 - Article 61    | Keywords: divorce, education

» Impact of conjugal separation on women’s income in Canada: Does the type of union matter?
Volume 35 - Article 50    | Keywords: cohabitation, divorce

» Cohabitation among secular Jews in Israel: How ethnicity, education, and employment characteristics are related to young adults' living arrangements
Volume 35 - Article 32    | Keywords: cohabitation, education