Topics: Birth order, Family / Pages: 90 (15569 words) / Published: Mar 23rd, 2015

J Popul Econ (2009) 22:367–397
DOI 10.1007/s00148-007-0181-4

Birth order matters: the effect of family size and birth order on educational attainment
Alison L. Booth & Hiau Joo Kee

Received: 13 January 2006 / Accepted: 9 November 2007 /
Published online: 11 April 2008
# Springer-Verlag 2007

Abstract Using the British Household Panel Survey, we investigate if family size and birth order affect children’s subsequent educational attainment. Theory suggests a tradeoff between child quantity and “quality” and that siblings are unlikely to receive equal shares of parental resources devoted to children’s education. We construct a new birth order index that effectively purges family size from birth order and use this to test if siblings are assigned equal shares in the family’s educational resources. We find that the shares are decreasing with birth order. Ceteris paribus, children from larger families have less education, and the family size effect does not vanish when we control for birth order.
These findings are robust to numerous specification checks.
Keywords Family size . Birth order . Education
JEL Classification I2 . J1

1 Introduction
The promotion of educational attainment is an important priority of policy makers. The economics of the family suggests that children’s educational achievement is related to

Responsible editor: Alessandro Cigno
A. L. Booth
Essex University, Colchester, UK
A. L. Booth (*)
Economics Program, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University,
Canberra ACT 0200, Australia e-mail: Alison.booth@anu.edu.au
H. J. Kee
Econtech Pty Ltd., PO Box 4129, Kingston ACT 2604, Australia e-mail: kee@econtech.com.au


A.L. Booth, H.J. Kee

family size and that there is a trade-off between child quantity and “quality” (Becker
1960; Becker and Lewis 1973) where child ‘quality’ is proxied by educational outcomes. A number of arguments also suggest that siblings are unlikely to receive equal shares of the

References: Barmby T, Cigno A (1990) A sequential probability model of fertility patterns. J Popul Econ 3(1):31–51 Becker GS (1960) An economic analysis of fertility change in developed countries. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ Becker GS, Lewis GH (1973) On the interaction between the quantity and quality of children 81(2):S279–S288 Behrman JR, Taubman P (1986) Birth order, schooling, and earnings Birdsall N (1991) Birth order effects and time allocation. In: Schultz TP (ed) Research in population economics: a research annual Bjorklund A, Eriksson T, Jantti M, Raaum O, Osterbacka E (2004) Family structure and labor market success: the influence of siblings and birth order on the earnings of young adults in Norway, Finland Black SE, Devereux PJ, Salvanes KG (2005) The more the merrier? The effect of family size and birth order on children’s education Booth AL, Kee H-J (2006) Intergenerational transmission of fertility patterns in Britain. IZA Discussion Paper No 2437, November Bowles S, Gintis H (2002) The inheritance of inequality. J Econ Perspect 16(3):3–30 Chiang AC (1984) Fundamental methods of mathematical economics New York Cigno A, Ermisch JF (1989) A microeconomic analysis of the timing of births Conley D, Glauber R (2005) Parental educational investment and children’s academic risk: estimates of the impact of sibship size and birth order from exogenous variation in fertility 11302, April Ejrnaes M, Portner CC (2004) Birth order and the intrahousehold allocation of time and education Econ Stat 86(4):1008–1019 Hanushek EA (1992) The trade-off between child quantity and quality Hauser RM, Kuo H-HD (1998) Does the gender composition of sibships affect women’s educational attainment? J Hum Resour 33(3):644–657 Hauser RM, Sewell WH (1985) Birth order and educational attainment in full sibships. Am Educ Res J 22 (1):1–23 Iacovou M (2001) Family composition and children’s educational outcomes. Working paper of institute for social and economic research, paper 2001-12 (PDF) Kaestner R (1997) Are brothers really better? Sibling sex composition and educational attainment revisited Kessler D (1991) Birth order, family size, and achievement: family structure and wage determination. J Labor Econ 9(4):413–426 Parish WL, Willis RJ (1993) Daughters, education, and family budgets taiwan experiences. The Journal of Human Resources, Special Issue: Symposium on Investments in Women’s Human Capital and Development 28(4):863–898 Rosenzweig MR, Zhang J (2006) Do population control policies induce more human capital investments?

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • P6
  • P6
  • P6
  • P6 P7
  • P6 M2
  • Communicable Disease P6
  • Primavera P6
  • Anatomy And Physiology P6
  • Unit 39 P6
  • Unit 12 P6