Linking Intergenerational Associations of Status Attainment and Family Formation: The Early Transition to Adulthood among American Girls

Molly A. Martin, Columbia University

To better estimate the effects of family structure and socioeconomic status for a woman’s early transition to adulthood, I simultaneously model her educational transitions and whether she has an early birth. Using a sample of non-Hispanic White and Black females from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, I estimate bivariate probit models with correlated disturbances. The results demonstrate that family structure moderates the effects of parents’ socioeconomic status. For all family types, however, the effects of socioeconomic status are greater for a daughter’s education than for her fertility. In addition, parents’ expectations for the daughter’s education influence not only her educational transitions, but also her likelihood of having an early birth. Finally, unobserved heterogeneity influences both a daughter’s early fertility and her educational transitions.

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Presented in Session 87: Comparative Perspectives on Population Growth, Fertility, and Contraception