Donna Ginther

Professor & Director of the Center for Science, Technology & Economic Policy

Department of Economics, University of Kansas

NLS user since 1993

  • Ginther, D. K., Björklund, A., & Sundström, M. (2007). Family Structure and Child Outcomes in the USA and Sweden. Journal of Population Economics, 20, 183-201.
  • Ginther, D. K., & Pollak, R. (2004). Family Structure and Children’s Educational Outcomes: Blended Families, Stylized Facts, and Descriptive Regressions. Demography, 41(4), 671-696.
  • Ginther, D. K., & Zavodny, M. (2001). Is the Male Marriage Premium Due to Selection? The Effect of Shotgun Weddings on the Return to Marriage. Journal of Population Economics, 14(2), 313-328.
  • Ginther, D. K. (2000). Alternative Estimates of the Effect of Schooling on Earnings. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 82(1), 103-116.
What I learned from NLS data

We have used the NLS, NLSY-79, and the NLSY-Children to examine the returns to marriage, the returns to schooling, and the effect of family structure on children's educational outcomes. Ginther (2000) shows that the returns to schooling depend critically on the assumptions used to identify the endogeneity of schooling. Ginther and Zavodny (2001) shows that the return to marriage is lower for men who got married as the result of premarital conception (shotgun weddings) compared with selected marriages. However, there is still a positive return to shotgun weddings, indicating that marriage does make men more productive. Ginther and Pollak (2004) examined educational outcomes for joint and step children in blended families compared with children from traditional nuclear families. We found that despite having both parents, joint children in blended families have worse educational outcomes that children from traditional nuclear families. In fact, joint children in blended families have outcomes that look similar to those of stepchildren. Bjorklund, Ginther and Sundstrom (2007) compared the effects of family structure in the US and Sweden. We found that despite the generous social safety net in Sweden, educational outcomes for children from non-intact families in both countries look very similar.

Why I chose NLS data

The NLS and NLSY has detailed information on schooling and family structure. The data follows individuals over time, allowing me to examine the effects of childhood investments on adult outcomes.