Does the Effect of Parental Breakup on Children’s Education Depend on the Divorce Rate?

Martin Kreidl, Masaryk University
Martina Štípková, University of West Bohemia
Barbora Hubatková, Masaryk University
Ladislav Rabusic, Masaryk University

This paper explores variations in the negative effect of parental breakup on children’s chances to obtain a tertiary education, across contexts (countries and cohorts). We use data from the first wave of the Generations and Gender Survey from 13 countries and four birth cohorts, complemented by selected macro-level indicators (divorce rate and educational expansion). Fixed-effect and random-effect logistic regressions show that the negative effect of experiencing parental separation is stronger in recent birth cohorts and at higher divorce rates. The explanation, we argue, rests on declining level of parental conflict in splitting families: as divorce spreads in society, even couples with less conflict separate. A child from a dissolving low-conflict family is strongly negatively affected by loss of the family, whereas a child from a high-conflict family is rather relieved from a dysfunctional parental relationship and the positive effects of breakup may outweigh the negative ones.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Marriage, Unions, Families and Households