July 2015

IZA DP No. 9197: Family Shocks and Academic Achievement

Disruptions in family life can take many forms, but all have the potential to impact student learning. With school administrative data matched to birth records, I estimate the effect of unexpected changes in the home environment, or family shocks, on achievement. Identification comes from siblings observed in the same year. I find that family shocks are at least as important as teacher assignment for student learning. Furthermore, they have a relatively larger impact on students from affluent families; time use evidence indicates that this is likely because affluent parents are more involved in their children's learning.