Dissertation Abstracts

Parental Unemployment and Children's Educational Attainment

Author: Arbeit, Caren A, arbei003@umn.edu
Department: Sociology
University: University of Minnesota, United States
Supervisor: John Robert Warren
Year of completion: In progress
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: 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 children’s 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 children’s education attainment. In the first paper, I take a life course approach to examine whether, and how, the timing of parental unemployment in children’s 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 parent’s job loss moderates the consequences of parental unemployment for children’s 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 children’s educational attainment. My research contributes to the sociological life course and stratification knowledge, but also to the larger interdisciplinary literature on parental unemployment and children’s outcomes. Beyond academia, my research can inform both education and unemployment policies.

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