How distance to a non-resident parent relates to child outcomes

Journal article by Astrid Würtz Rasmussen and Leslie Stratton, Review of Economics of the Household, doi: 10.1007/s11150-016-9338-9.

18.06.2016 | Mathias Bukh Vestergaard

"Family courts now encourage both parents to maintain contact with their children following separation/divorce, believing this is in the child’s best interest. We use geographical distance between non-resident parents and their children to test how such distance is related to educational and behavioral outcomes within a population sample of children from nonnuclear families in Denmark. As this distance is a choice, non-resident parents may choose where to live in part based on expected child outcomes; results that fail to take endogeneity into account will be biased. We use instrumental variable techniques to control for this potential endogeneity. The results indicate educational outcomes are somewhat better for all and behavioral outcomes are at least no worse for girls who live at a greater distance from their non-resident parent. Failing to control for endogeneity seems to bias the results for behavioral outcomes in favor of more proximate parents. Thus, policy efforts to keep separated parents geographically closer for the sake of their children may in fact not be advantageous."

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