This special issue will invite empirical papers that examine heterogeneity in the effects of disruptive events on children’s attainment and wellbeing. Given the health, economic, and social upheaval of 2020, this is a crucial time to understand the differential impact of disruption on children’s lives. In addition to analyses of heterogeneity in the effects of disruptive events, they encourage contributions that consider mechanisms accounting for and policies aimed at alleviating heterogeneous effects of disruptive events. They are interested in both aggregate shocks(e.g., economic recession, natural disaster, pandemic)and individual-or family-level disruptive events(e.g., job loss, housing loss, and health shocks), and various axes of heterogeneity, such as demographic, socioeconomic, and developmental. Finally, they are interested in interactions between macro-level and micro-level sources of disruption.
Below is a set of possible topics that scholars may address. This list is by no means an exhaustive list of topics of interest.
Heterogeneity in the Impact of Macro (Aggregate)Disruptive Events
- How does the impact of economic recessions on children's psychological well-being vary according to parental income?
- How does the impact of natural disasters on children's socioeconomic attainment vary by socioeconomic resources?
- How does the pandemic differentially impact children’s education by race?
Heterogeneity in the Impact of Micro (Individual) Disruptive Events
- How does exposure to violence differentially impact children’s psychological well-being according to different likelihoods of being exposed to community violence?
- How does the effect of parental job loss on children's own likelihood of job loss vary by the developmental period in which parents lost jobs?
- How do health shocks differentially impact families and children with different socioeconomic resources?
- Are differential impacts of disruptive events on children’s outcomes conditioned by variation in family ties(multigenerational vs. single generation households, presence of kin)?
- How does housing loss, by foreclosure or eviction, differentially impact children’s socioeconomic attainment by race?
Interaction between Macro and Micro Disruptive Events as a Source of Heterogeneity
- How does the impact of parental job loss on children’s psychological well-being vary across contexts with higher or lower unemployment levels?
- How does the impact of parental housing loss on children’s educational attainment vary across contexts with higher or lower aggregate foreclosures or evictions?
- How does a family health shock’s affect children’s well being vary by state-level policy environments?
Mechanisms ExplainingHeterogeneity in the Impact of Disruptive Events
- How do they explain heterogeneity across contexts in the effect of parental job loss on children’s psychological well-being? Do children who are unaccustomed to socioeconomic adversity or have few peers experiencing similar disruption feel more stigma than children accustomed to adversity or surrounded by peers who share similar experiences?
- How do they explain variation in effects of economic recessions on children’s educational attainment by socioeconomic status? Do some children no longer have access to parental resources that they were depending on to continue their schooling? Do some adolescent children begin working to compensate for lost family income?
- How do they understand the differential effects of housing loss on children's socioeconomic attainment? Do some more disadvantaged children experience homelessness or food insecurity, or no longer reside with custodial parents? How do other kin, and the socioeconomic resources of kin, help explain the differential response to housing loss? Do some more advantaged children suffer because they expected housing stability and are suddenly faced with residential and school changes?
- Does family history of disadvantage in the previous generation affect the current generation’s ability to cope with a new disruptive event?
- Do some policies help alleviate the impact of job loss on children, and do so for some children more than others? If job loss impacts the psychological well-being of more advantaged families who were not expecting job instability, do unemployment benefits insufficiently compensate for that loss relative to families who were most concerned with income loss?
They invite papers using diverse methodological approaches –quantitative and qualitative–to uncover heterogeneous effects of disruption on children’s attainment and wellbeing. Analyses that add to our understanding of the mechanisms linking event exposure and subsequent outcomes, are welcome. They welcome work that addresses disruptive events in the U.S. and abroad.