Entwined Embedded Events: The Effect of Parental Incarceration Timing on Children’s Academic Achievement
Matthew Fox1, Ravaris Moore2, Xi Song3
1University of California, Los Angeles, 2Princeton University & Loyola Marymount University, 3University of Pennsylvania

Parental incarceration has negative effects on children’s educational outcomes. Past studies have only analyzed, and therefore only treated as consequential, incarceration that occurs during childhood rather than prenatally. This same emphasis on the importance of others’ transitions to one’s life only if they occur during one’s lifetime is common in life-course studies. This paper introduces “entwined embedded events,” which argues that certain events are so consequential to multiple persons’ lives that they should be analyzed as events within multiple independent life courses; parental incarceration, whenever it occurs, is entwined across and shapes both parents’ and children’s lives. Drawing on data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and the Fragile Family and Child Wellbeing Study, we find that parental incarceration, both prenatal and during childhood, significantly influences children’s educational outcomes. Our results show variance by children’s race and are mediated by relationship-oriented variables, such as parental involvement in children’s lives.