Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 185–199

Family Structure and Children’s Education Outcome: Evidence from Uruguay

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10834-012-9326-z

Cite this article as:
Cid, A. & Stokes, C.E. J Fam Econ Iss (2013) 34: 185. doi:10.1007/s10834-012-9326-z


As the developed world has experienced a shift away from the traditional two-biological parent family, scholars have sought to understand how children are faring in non-traditional homes. Debate has arisen over assertions that children from non-traditional families do less well in school. Concerns about selection issues as well as a paucity of cross-cultural evidence, have led some scholars to question the influence of family structure on educational attainment. Using data from the 2006 Uruguayan household survey, we evaluated the relationship of family structure with children’s education using two different methods to deal with selection problems, an instrumental variables approach and propensity score matching. Both approaches yield evidence that growing up in non-traditional family structures seems to be negative related with the schooling of Uruguayan boys, with more muted results for girls. Interestingly, Uruguay is a developing country with two peculiarities, that is, a culture that experienced fairly rapid modernization in terms of institutions—including family transition—especially compared with other South American nations, and meanwhile an intriguingly high level of school drop-out, unusually high for Uruguay’s overall level of development.


Academic achievement Family structure Instrumental variables Propensity score Selection effects 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center of Applied Research on Economics, Universidad de MontevideoMontevideoUruguay
  2. 2.Samford UniversityBirminghamUSA
  3. 3.John Templeton Center for Thrift and GenerosityNew York USA

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