Graduation Year

2017

Date of Submission

12-2016

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Economics

Reader 1

Eric Helland

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© 2016 Brandon Granaada

Abstract

For fragile families, external shocks to parents such as incarceration, illness, abuse, death, and divorce can be enough to push the entire family into homelessness. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, I find statistically significant evidence that paternal incarceration, spousal abuse, and parental illness all increase the probability of childhood homelessness. However, I am unable to find a significant correlation between divorce and child homelessness. These findings imply large external shocks to the father, as well as both major external shocks and daily life habits such as drug abuse in the mother, can increase a child’s chance of homelessness. Additionally, I find that these results have a greater effect when they happen earlier in the child’s life, suggesting that policy directed at supporting fragile families with incarcerated fathers, abused mothers, and sick parents would be effective for decreasing childhood homelessness in the United States.

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