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The Impact of Family Composition on Adult Earnings
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis addresses to what extent childhood family composition – the number of siblings and whether the parents live together, or whether there are non-parental adults and/or half-siblings in the household or not – contributes to variations in adult earnings. The theoretical perspective suggests that resources mediate the effect. While research has shown that siblings, as well as divorce and remarriage, are negatively linked to child outcomes, there are inconsistencies in previous literature. There has been debate over the unconfoundedness of previous studies, something that is handled here by analyzing large sets of representative data using a robust parameter. The longitudinal dataset used is based on Swedish administrative data and the cohorts analyzed are born in the beginning of the 1970s. The data structure is well suited for the assumptions underlying the semi-parametric method propensity score matching.

The findings show that family size impacts on adult earnings. However, this is not always of concern. For example, no effect of siblings is found in affluent families, and if siblings are closely spaced this results in better outcomes for children. Divorce and remarriage do not seem to lower the future earnings of children. Thus, this thesis shows that some of the most well-established patterns in the sociology of the family, namely the link between number of siblings and adult earnings, and between divorce/family re-formation and adult earnings, can be broken by resources.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University , 2016. , 35 p.
Series
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Sociologiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 1104-2508 ; A78
Keyword [en]
Family composition, siblings, divorce, remarriage, adult earnings, propensity score matching
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-127663ISBN: 978-91-7601-596-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-127663DiVA: diva2:1047225
Public defence
2016-12-09, Hörsal E, Humanisthuset, Umeå Universitet, Umeå, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-11-18 Created: 2016-11-16 Last updated: 2016-12-01Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Effects of spacing and sibship size on adult earnings: Results from a propensity score analysis on a population-based cohort
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Effects of spacing and sibship size on adult earnings: Results from a propensity score analysis on a population-based cohort
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Research has shown that the sibling constellation impacts on adult life chances. The outcomes commonly investigated are education and various forms of psychological factors such as cognitive ability. In this study we investigate an outcome relatively few have studied before – adult earnings. Three different sibling constellations are in focus: 1) being an only child, 2) having many siblings, and 3) close birth spacing between siblings. The national context is Sweden, and the study is based on administrative data, including all individuals born in the country in 1973. The outcome variable is mean labour market earnings from age 33 to 35. Using propensity score matching, we show that individuals having grown up with more than two siblings have substantially lower earnings in adulthood than those with fewer siblings. However, no significant difference was found between individuals having a closely spaced sibling and those who do not have closely spaced siblings. We also could not find any differences between only children and children with siblings.

Keyword
Propensity score matching, siblings, earnings
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-127657 (URN)
Available from: 2016-11-16 Created: 2016-11-16 Last updated: 2016-11-17
2. Sibling effects on adult earnings among poor and wealthy children: Evidence from Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sibling effects on adult earnings among poor and wealthy children: Evidence from Sweden
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

While previous research in general observes adverse effects of siblings on children, less is known about the ways in which material circumstances condition these effects. Using propensity score matching on longitudinal data, this study estimates the effects of being an only child, being born first, and having a large sibling group on adult earnings. Estimates are made for poor and wealthy children respectively in order to examine whether effects occur for both groups. The results show that being an only child, or having a large sibling group, impacts negatively on adult earnings among poor children. Having one younger sibling furthermore has a positive effect on adult earnings among poor children. No corresponding effects were observed for wealthy children. The results indicate that sibling effects are not linear and that they are dependent on family resources.

Keyword
Siblings, earnings, propensity score matching, poverty, affluence
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-127660 (URN)
Available from: 2016-11-16 Created: 2016-11-16 Last updated: 2016-11-17
3. Long-term effects of parental divorce: A population-based causal analysis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Long-term effects of parental divorce: A population-based causal analysis
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The effects of divorce on children have been a question of significant importance for family researchers for a long time. Employing a resource theoretical perspective, this paper investigates the causal effect of parental divorce on children in the long term – specifically looking at the outcome adult labour market earnings. The analysis includes all firstborn children, born to married parents, in Sweden in 1973 (n=19,578), following them for 35 years onwards. Applying propensity score matching on longitudinal data, the analysis shows no indications of a causal effect of divorce on adult earnings.

Keyword
Divorce, earnings, propensity score matching
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-127661 (URN)
Available from: 2016-11-16 Created: 2016-11-16 Last updated: 2016-11-17
4. Children of divorce: The effects of post-divorce family re-formation on children's future earnings
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Children of divorce: The effects of post-divorce family re-formation on children's future earnings
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

It is not unusual with sequential partnerships today, and more children are nowadays living parts of their childhood in families consisting of both biological parents, non-parental adults, full biological siblings, and half-siblings. The aim of this study is to investigate post-divorce family re-formation regarding the effect on future labour market earnings for children. Three factors are investigated: 1) family re-formation, 2) half-siblings and 3) family size. We employ propensity score matching on a population based dataset, a method of advantage when heterogeneity in effects can be suspected. We find no evidence of effects of family re-formation, nor the occurrence of half-siblings, on labour market earnings. We find a substantial negative effect of family size on adult earnings, regardless of re-marriage and half-siblings. This suggests that the childhood circumstances that affect adult earnings are related to the nuclear family and family size – including resource dilution from siblings – regardless of whether these children originate in the nuclear family or in the divorced and re-formed family.

Keyword
DIvorce, remarriage, earnings, propensity score matching
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-127662 (URN)
Available from: 2016-11-16 Created: 2016-11-16 Last updated: 2016-11-17

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