Family Socioeconomic Status, Parental Unemployment and Children’s Educational Attainment

Caren Arbeit, University of Minnesota

Prior research on parental unemployment has paid little explicit attention to role family socioeconomic status (SES) plays in potentially moderating the impact of a parent’s job loss on children (see Newman 1988 for an exception.). Family SES likely moderates the effect of parental unemployment, since higher SES families generally have more resources (both economic and non-economic, such as social net-works) to cope with the unemployment spell. In this paper I bring a stratification perspective to research on parental unemployment and children’s educational attainment. To do so, I ask: How does family socioeconomic status moderate the impact of parental unemployment on children’s educational outcomes? Using the PSID, I examine differences in educational attainment for children who experience parental job loss from different family SES backgrounds. I use propensity score matching to examine the educational attainment of children born into socioeconomically similar families but with divergent experiences related to parental job loss.

  See paper

Presented in Poster Session 5: Economy, Labor Force, Education and Inequality