Render estimated effects to nonsignificance, we let the values of λ range from −20 to −10% and the values of γ range from −40 to 40%. The sensitivity results when λ and γ are negative are the same as those when γ and λ are positive, so there is no loss of information by not including a positive range for λ. We observe that the effect of divorce on high school completion for children with a low and moderate propensity for parental divorce is reduced to nonsignificance when unobserved differences between divorce and nondivorce are 10% or higher (γ≥10) and the prevalence of the unobserved factor differs between children whose parents do and do not divorce is 10% or higher (λ≤−10). Results for college attainment are less sensitive to confounding. For college attendance, effects for children with a low propensity are reduced to nonsignificance when γ≥30 and λ≤−20; for college completion, effects remain significant for every value we consider. Effects on college are quite robust for children with a moderate propensity as well, reaching nonsignificance when γ≥30 divorce lawyer singapore and λ≤−10 or γ≥20 and λ≤−20. As we note above, values greater than 10% for γ or λ for any particular confounder are unlikely, lending confidence in our main findings of the effects of divorce on college attainment for children with a low-to-moderate propensity.This pattern of effect heterogeneity may help explain results suggesting smaller effects of parental divorce on college attainment using samples of more disadvantaged families (e.g., Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study), who bear the most similarity to stratum 3, than those we observe here.
Children whose parents divorce tend to have lower levels
Of educational attainment than children whose parents stay married. With careful attention to the assumptions needed to estimate effects, we assess whether the impact of parental divorce varies across families with varying likelihoods of divorce. Our approach yields comprehensible and noteworthy results. Effects of parental divorce on children’s educational attainment vary inversely with the likelihood of divorce. We find significant effects of divorce on children’s educational success among those with a low-to-moderate likelihood of parental divorce. For them, educational attainment rates are generally high, yet significantly differ depending upon whether or not their parents divorce, particularly for college attendance and completion. Parental divorce may trigger an acute sense of deprivation among these relatively advantaged children, whose peers tend to be likewise advantaged and for whom family instability is uncommon and comes as a shock. Conversely, we find no significant effect of divorce on children’s education among those who have a high likelihood of parental divorce. Educational attainment rates among children whose parents have a high probability of divorce are relatively low, and these rates are roughly the same whether or not parents divorce. Families prone to disruption have high levels of socioeconomic hardship and/or a context in which family shocks and economic distress are normative. That is, for these children, parental divorce is but one of many disadvantaged socioeconomic and family events faced during childhood, rendering the effects of any particular event less disruptive and less severe.
Divorce is a highly selective process; we cannot plausibly account
For all of the factors that influence both parents’ likelihood of divorce and children’s educational outcomes. One key advantage and primary motivation for our focus on treatment effect heterogeneity by the propensity score is the heightened recognition of potential violations of the assumption that we adequately adjust for all potential confounding factors. A researcher can begin with such an assumption to carry out meaningful analyses without necessarily committing to the validity of the assumption (19⇓–21). Indeed, even when unobserved selectivity is present, it is informative to understand variation in effects along the propensity score (22). Our analyses yield an important pattern of effect heterogeneity by the estimated propensity of parental divorce based on observed covariates. If we accept the assumption that we have accounted for all confounding factors, the results suggest larger effects among children with a lower likelihood of parental divorce. If we do not accept this assumption, we can nevertheless interpret the findings to reflect differential unobserved selectivity of parental divorce: our results then reveal an association between lower resistance to divorce and larger effects of divorce. That is, given an observed low likelihood of divorce, a divorce nonetheless can occur when unobserved characteristics render some parents less resistant to divorce than others with similar observed characteristics. Lending confidence to our substantive interpretation, sensitivity analyses indicate that our main empirical findings are highly robust to confounding.