How Do Social and Educational Policies Affect the Educational Outcomes of Youth From Single-Mother Families? A Comparative Study of European Countries

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Thu. 07.04.'22 12:45



Speaker: Kristina Lindemann Abstract: This study examines how institutional contexts in 28 European countries moderate the effects of family structure on young people’s enrollment in and attainment of tertiary education. Previous research has largely overlooked the role of social policies and educational policies for educational outcomes of youth living in single-parent families and how these policies interact with a family’s SES in moderating the effects of family structure. I focus on two types of policies that provide single-parent families with additional resources: generosity of social benefits to single parents and financial support to students in tertiary education. I use the data from the EU-SILC longitudinal and ad hoc files and from the German Socio-Economic Panel. Multilevel regression models, with country fixed effects, show that more generous financial support to students and social benefits to unemployed single parents reduce the enrolment gap between youth from single-mother and two-parent families, but only among low-SES and moderate-SES families. However, the findings show that for high-SES families, the tertiary education attainment gap is smaller in contexts with generous benefits to employed single mothers who earn an average wage.