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Abstracts of dissertations

Parental Unemployment and Children's Educational Attainment
Arbeit, Caren A
United States

John Robert Warren
University of Minnesota
United States

Year of completion in progress

language of dissertation English

  • stratification
  • life course
  • education
  • family
Areas of Research
  • Stratification
  • Education
  • Family Research
For my dissertation project, I am writing three papers examining how parental unemployment impacts childrenís educational attainment. In these papers, I conceptualize parental unemployment as an understudied family context that deserves more attention given the large number of parents who have experienced unemployment over the last few years. I use data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to investigate the way parental unemployment moderates childrenís education attainment. In the first paper, I take a life course approach to examine whether, and how, the timing of parental unemployment in childrenís lives moderates its effects on educational attainment. This paper is included as my writing sample. In the second paper, I use propensity score matching to examine whether and how family socioeconomic status (and especially poverty status) prior to parentís job loss moderates the consequences of parental unemployment for childrenís educational attainment. Third, I consider the amount of exposure a child has to parental unemployment. To do this I consider the how duration and number of parental unemployment spells affects childrenís educational attainment. My research contributes to the sociological life course and stratification knowledge, but also to the larger interdisciplinary literature on parental unemployment and childrenís outcomes. Beyond academia, my research can inform both education and unemployment policies.