CRCW Research

Families and Households

Center for Research on Child Wellbeing associates are investigating the causes and consequences of family and household formation.

Alicia Adsera is using the 1994-2001 European Community Household Panel Survey to study gender differences in employment and income among married and cohabiting couples in 15 European countries. She is also looking at how religion relates to family growth and fertility in Spain and fertility transitions for immigrants to Canada.

Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and Sara McLanahan have been working with several postdoctoral researchers to examine the effects of family instability and parental relationship transitions on parenting practices and children’s wellbeing.

Anne Case’s research examines the consequences of parent absence for children’s educational attainment and overall wellbeing. In other papers Case uses data from demographic surveillance area (DSA) in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and finds that orphanage is associated with lower educational attainment in children. She notes that maternal orphanage has more negative consequences for children’s education than paternal orphanage, and with Christina Paxson she attributes these disadvantages primarily to children living apart from close relatives.

Kathryn Edin is interviewing unmarried fathers in four cities to examine the positive or negative effects that having children has had on their lives. Her study also asks why unmarried men seek to become fathers and what obstacles impede their active participation in their children’s lives. This work continues to explore questions addressed in her book Unmarried Couples with Children. The new book is tentatively titled Fragile Fatherhood:  What Being a Daddy Means in the Lives of Low Income Unmarried Men.

Jean Knab, working with Irwin Garfinkel and Sara McLanahan, has been examining how federal policies on welfare and child support influence the incidence of marriage following out-of-wedlock births. This research is contained within an upcoming book, Welfare Reform and its Long-Term Consequences for America's Poor.

Sara McLanahan and her colleagues are using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine how couple relationships transition following a non-marital birth. Their recent research investigates economic and interpersonal factors that serve as barriers to marriage. Additionally, McLanahan and others are examining the relationship developments among Fragile Family mothers that were unmarried at the birth of their child, as well as patterns of multi-partner fertility.

Viviana Zelizer's research examines the multiple connections between private relationships and economic behavior. In her book, Pricing the Priceless Child, she explores modern and historical conceptions of the economic and social value of children. Her most recent book, The Purchase of Intimacy, reviews the role of economic activity in interpersonal relationships. She is currently conducting research on gender differences in household expenditure and care work.

CRCW associates have also recently edited The Future of Children journal issues focusing on topics related to family and household formation, including "Marriage and Child Wellbeing," "Fragile Families," and "Work and Family."

Princeton University