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Journal Article

Family Structure and Youths' Outcomes: Which Correlations are Causal?

Gary Painter and David I. Levine
The Journal of Human Resources
Vol. 35, No. 3 (Summer, 2000), pp. 524-549
DOI: 10.2307/146391
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/146391
Page Count: 26
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Family Structure and Youths' Outcomes: Which Correlations are Causal?
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Abstract

Growing up in a family that lacks a biological father is correlated with lower education and higher rates of teen out-of-wedlock fertility. This study uses the National Educational Longitudinal Survey of 1988 (NELS) to examine the extent to which the apparent effects of divorce or remarriage during a youth's high-school years were not causal, but were due to preexisting disadvantages of the family or youth. The correlations between family structure and youth outcomes appear to be largely causal: neither divorce nor remarriage during a youth's high school years have a strong relation to preexisting characteristics of the youth or family.

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