The Lasting Effects of Parent Job Loss on Sibling’s Educational Attainment

Caren Arbeit, University of Minnesota

In this paper I examine sibling differences in educational attainment, focusing on the timing of parent job loss in children’s lives. Drawing from research on parent unemployment, life course theories and sibling differences, I argue that the timing of parent job loss in a child’s life moderates the impact of the event on children’s educational attainment in adulthood. Timing of family events in each child’s life may lead to long term differences in educational attainment. Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, I look at the educational attainment at age 25 of siblings born between 1968 and 1984 where the parent who is the head of household experienced a job loss. Using family fixed effects models to control for family contexts at the time of parent unemployment I find little difference in siblings educational attainment at age 25 based on child age when the parent lost his or her job.

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Presented in Session 29: Education and the Life Course