Both longitudinal and cross-sectional analyses on a large and recent Swedish data set demonstrate that, compared to children in intact families, children who have experienced family dissolution or reconstitution show lower educational attainment at age 16. Time constraints do not seem to be an important mechanism behind the negative effect of separation. Economic deprivation affects children s attainment negatively, but downward social mobility appears to be an even more important causal mechanism: Losing the parent with the higher social position probably reduces social capital and aspirations. When we control for socioeconomic characteristics, a small net effect of separation and reconstitution remains.

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