February 2010

IZA DP No. 4755: Are Happiness and Productivity Lower among University Students with Newly-Divorced Parents? An Experimental Approach

published in: Experimental Economics, 2012, 15 (1), 1-23

We live in a high-divorce age. It is now common for university faculty to have students who are touched by a recent divorce. It is likely that parents themselves worry about effects on their children. Yet there has been almost no formal research into the important issue of how recent parental-divorce affects students at university. This paper designs such a study. In it, to avoid 'priming', we measure students' happiness with life before we inquire into their family background. We also measure student achievement in a randomized-trial productivity task. Our results seem both of scientific interest and of potential interest to parents. This study finds no evidence that students suffer after parental divorce