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Sheldon H. Danziger photo

MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood Postdoctoral Fellowship - Year 3

a PSC Research Project [ARCHIVE DISPLAY]

Investigator:   Sheldon H. Danziger

With funds from the MacArthur Foundation?s Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood, the NPC will continue to host a postdoctoral fellow. On September 1, 2011, Patrick Wightman will begin the third year of his fellowship. Wightman received his PhD in public policy from the University of Chicago in summer 2009. Wightman?s research focuses on two related areas: the transition to adulthood (in particular, parental financial support to young adults) and the effect of job loss on families and children.

Transition to Adulthood
In recent years, young adults are taking longer to make the transition to adulthood. They are waiting longer to leave home, complete their schooling and get married. Stable employment, once a hallmark of adulthood, is becoming more elusive as average job tenure is shorter and employment transitions, both voluntary and involuntary, occur more frequently. Young adults are also taking longer to find steady health insurance. The relationship between parenthood and marriage is becoming increasingly tenuous as more children are born to single parents and cohabitating couples while conversely married couples are waiting longer to have children. Moreover, an important and relatively new characteristic accompanying these trends is an apparent increase in the rate and value of parental support given to young adults. This point is important in light of the widening socio-economic gap between low and high income families that has occurred over the past thirty years. If successful transitions to adulthood depend on access to parental assistance, efforts to reduce economic inequality among young adults will be hamstrung by low-income parents? inability (or unwillingness) to provide this support.

Job Loss and Families
Job loss is an inescapable feature of modern labor markets, a fact made prominent by the recent great recession. While the effect of job loss on the economic well-being of the job loser is well-documented, less understood is the long-term impact that parental job loss has on other family members. In particular, relatively little is known regarding how children respond to the loss of financial resources and the disruption of family routines and expectations and how it affects their prospects and opportunities in the long run.

Funding Period: 09/01/2011 to 12/31/2012

Country of Focus: USA

This PSC Archive record is displayed for historical reference.

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