Intergenerational Transmission of Family Formation


Research about parent effects on family behavior traditionally examines intergenerational transmission: whether children adopt the same family behavior as their parents. In this project, we draw attention to empirical regularities where children follow contrasting family formation trajectories to their parents. Such regularities are stable parent effects on family behavior, even though there is no direct intergenerational transmission. We use data from the Longitudinal Study of Generations (LSOG) and propose an innovative application of multichannel sequence analysis and cluster analysis to investigate family formation trajectories between age 15 and age 40 holistically. Results show patterns of both ‘similar’ and ‘contrasting’ parent - child family formation dyads. We conclude that, by focusing on average effects, regression-based methods for studying intergenerational transmission may lose sight of regularities where children shape their family formation in opposition to the template observed in their parents.