Child support and educational outcomes: evidence from the British Household Panel Survey

Publication type

Conference Paper


XX Annual Conference of the European Society for Population Economics, Verona, June 22-24, 2006


Publication date

June 1, 2006


It is widely accepted that Child support (CS) has played a positive role in reducing child poverty among non-intact families. But little research has been done on the role of CS on the real educational outcomes of the children concerned.
Using a sample of dependent children in non-intact families from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), we find that CS received has an effect which is at least 10 times as large as that associated with variations in total household net income for two key educational outcomes, namely school leaving at the age of 16 and attaining 5 or more good GCSEs. This result is robust with respect to adding controls for characteristics of the child and the custodial mother.
We then instrument average CS receipt using the retrospective information on the mother’s fertility, relationship and unemployment, to investigate the causality of the relationship. We find that the strong CS effect found in probit models carries through when we allow CS, and other variables, to be endogenous. Moreover, applying the predicted CS, from the first-stage coefficients from IV model for non-intact children, does not seem to affect the educational outcomes for children living in intact families. This natural “non-experiment” lends further support to the causal interpretation of the CS effect.






Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest