Expenses, norms or practical considerations? The effect of income and education on non-residents fathers' contact with their children. The case of Norway

Ragni Hege Kitterød
Jan Lyngstad

In Norway one out of four children live with only one of their parents. Still, we have only just started to study the factors affecting the contact patterns between non-resident parents and their children. Some associations are well established, but so far, we know little about the effects of socio-economic factors such as education and income in Norway. Since the economic costs of contact with children may hinder fathers from seeing their children as much as they would like to, particularly if they do not live close to their children, it is important to assess whether low income affects contact patterns negatively. The current paper examines what factors affect non-resident fathers' contact with their children on a monthly basis and in vacations, with special focus on the potential effects of education and income. Previous analyses indicate that highly educated fathers have more monthly contact with their children than those with less education, which is consistent with the fact that well-educated fathers are more likely to hold a modern view on parenthood than other fathers. However, as information on income has only recently been linked to the data, we do not know whether the observed effect of education is due to differences in norms, income or other factors. We want to examine this by undertaking identical multivariate analyses of contact on a monthly basis and in vacations, with income and education as the main independent variables. We also include a number of controls. The analyses are based on the survey "Contact arrangements and child maintenance 2002", conducted by Statistics Norway.

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Presented in Session 15: Partnership dissolution and children