Stefano Cantalini, Nazareno Panichella, Raffaele Guetto, Gabriele Ballarino

Divorce and social stratification in Italy. Parental separation and children’s educational and occupational outcomes

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: parental separation, divorce, Diverging Destinies Thesis, education, occupation

In the last decades, Western societies have been involved in huge changes in the family structure, especially with the increasing incidence of divorce. According to the Diverging Destinies Thesis (DDT), the diffusion of divorce contributes to increase social inequalities because a) it is more widespread among the lowest strata of the social hierarchy; b) it has a negative effect on children’s outcomes; c) such negative effect is stronger among more disadvantaged families. This paper tests the three pillars of the DDT for the Italian case, studying the effect of parental divorce on children’s educational and occupational outcomes. Using Multipurpose Survey data (Istat, 2003-2009), results are only partially consistent with the DDT. Divorce is more widespread among highly-educated Italian families, although the positive socio-economic gradient is decreasing over time. Parental divorce negatively affects children’s outcomes, net of social origins, without noticeable changes over time. The penalty is stronger among children of highly-educated parents if the probability of achieving tertiary education is studied, whereas it is stronger among children of low-educated parents if the probability of attaining at least upper secondary education is analysed. Finally, parental divorce has more detrimental effects on children’s education if it occurred in their early life course

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