Lay-offs bring down kids’ school grades1 min read . Updated: 16 Nov 2020, 01:14 PM IST
A study from Spain shows children whose fathers lost their jobs during the Great Recession performed worse at school than others
A job loss is not merely an income loss. It also affects one’s health and family dynamics. For instance, new research from Spain shows losing employment can negatively impact how children in the family perform at school.
A recent paper by Jenifer Ruiz-Valenzuela from London School of Economics examines the school grades of 358 children in families that faced job losses in Barcelona during the Great Recession. Unemployment had risen dramatically in Spain in those years.
From 2008 to 2012, the average grade levels dipped for all children. But the performance was significantly worse for those whose fathers had lost employment.
Children whose fathers had had a longer and more stable run at their job before losing it dominated the group of poor performers. This suggests that children from such families suffered a bigger shock than those who had seen job losses in their family earlier as well.
Further, students whose fathers shut down their businesses during the recession performed worse than others.
Children who got lower grades were more likely to be from disadvantaged families, where fathers had relatively lower levels of education and suffered a longer spell of unemployment.
Interestingly, mothers losing their jobs had no impact on the school performance of children. Research shows that social norms and historical employment patterns allow women to adapt better after being laid off from work. Men tend to suffer more after losing employment because their job is thought to form a large part of their identity.
A vast number of people have lost their jobs in the current pandemic, too. In such a situation, this study highlights there are multiple aspects of unemployment, beyond income loss, that might warrant attention.
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