Published papers

Information shocks and parental response in education. A case study of an open government initiative (with Fritz Schiltz and Kristof De Witte). Government Information Quarterly (2022).

Work in progress

Fertility Outcomes of Children with Divorced Parents: Evidence from Population Data (with Deni Mazrekaj and Kristof De Witte). Reject & Resubmit, American Sociological Review.

Abstract. Most developed countries have experienced two major demographic trends in recent decades: declining fertility rates and increasing divorce rates. Yet, it is empirically understudied whether the exposure to family disruption in childhood influences individuals' fertility choices in adulthood. Using administrative data from the Netherlands that spans three generations, we provide first evidence on population data of completed fertility and childlessness of children whose parents divorced. Our results suggest that children from divorced families have lower completed fertility than children from intact, married families, and remain more frequently childless. Our findings support the hypothesis that the lower completed fertility arises because children from divorced families are themselves more likely to separate from their partner and are, therefore, not in a stable relationship long enough to start a family or expand their existing one. We also find that children from divorced families postpone marriage relative to children from intact families. Our results are robust to treatment effect bounds, to using parental death as an exogenous source of parental loss, and to Coarsened Exact Matching.

Early Labor Market Outcomes of Young Adults from Same-Sex Families: Evidence from Population Data (with Deni Mazrekaj and Kristof De Witte). Submitted.

Abstract. Although most studies suggest that children from same-sex families perform at least as well as children from different-sex families in childhood or adolescence, data limitations have prevented investigation of how children from same-sex families perform in adulthood. Using Dutch longitudinal tax registers, we offer first population-based evidence on how young adults from same-sex families fare when entering the labor market after high school. Our data allow us to follow five cohorts of young adults (born in 1995-1999) from same-sex families each year since birth all the way after high school until 2020. Our results suggest that young adults who lived in a same-sex family perform just as well early on the labor market as young adults from different-sex families. However, we also find considerable differences by the time spent in a same-sex family. Young adults raised by same-sex parents from birth are more employed in part-time occupations and more often choose nontraditional industries (i.e. industries dominated by the opposite sex). Especially boys from same-sex families are more employed in nontraditional industries than boys from different-sex families. We test various mechanisms that may explain our results. 

The effect of the birth of a halfsibling and the presence of stepsiblings on children's educational achievements (with Deni Mazrekaj and Kristof De Witte). Submitted.

Abstract. Over the past few decades, there has been an increase in the number of children who first experienced the separation of their parents and then the transition to a stepfamily. Yet, we know very little about whether exposure to complex sibling structures affects the educational outcomes of children in stepfamilies. Using administrative population data from the Netherlands, we investigate the educational outcomes of children born in 1995-2009 who experienced the birth of a half-sibling or the move of stepsiblings into the household. To account for endogeneity, we exploit variation in the timing of the sibling structure formation. The results indicate that neither the birth of a half-sibling nor the presence of stepsiblings significantly affects children’s test scores in primary education and high school diploma attainment. Our findings suggest that adding sibling complexity to families does not lead to more educational difficulties for children.

Other publications

Als een doorsnee gezin niet meer traditioneel is [When the average family is no longer traditional] (with Kristof De Witte and Deni Mazrekaj),  Leuvense Economische Standpunten, 2023/205 (2023).  

Barriers to Same-Sex Parenting Remain in Europe and are Unfounded (with Deni Mazrekaj and Kristof De Witte). Feminist Perspectives, King’s College London (2021).

Book chapters

Mazrekaj, D., Palmaccio, S., & De Witte, K. Research on children with LGBTQ parents: Challenges and a way forward. In G. Kaufman, M. Stambolis-Ruhstorfer, S. Roberts, & B. Ralph (Eds) Research Handbook on the Sociology of Gender. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. Forthcoming 2024.