Explaining the Birth Order Effect: The Role of Prenatal and Early Childhood Investments
AbstractThe critical role of prenatal and early childhood conditions on adult outcomes has been the focus of a rich body of research. In this paper, we examine various pre- and postnatal investments as possible sources behind the "birth order effect" – significant differences in the educational and labor market outcomes across children of varying birth orders. Taking advantage of a rich set of information on in utero and early childhood conditions in the Children of the NLSY79, we find that, within the same household, siblings of higher birth order experience a lower reduction in cigarette usage during pregnancy, are breastfed less often, and experience less cognitive stimulation and emotional support at ages 0 to 1. Next, we test for the presence of birth order effects in early cognitive and non-cognitive test scores and examine whether these differences can be explained by variations in prenatal and early childhood investments. Although there exists a significant negative relationship between birth order and early cognitive/non-cognitive test scores, the size and the significance of the negative birth order effects in test scores and educational attainment are robust to controlling for variations in early childhood factors.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6755.
Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2012
Date of revision:
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
- J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
- I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Frank Heiland, 2009. "Does the birth order affect the cognitive development of a child?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(14), pages 1799-1818.
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- Currie, Janet & Grogger, Jeffrey, 2002.
"Medicaid expansions and welfare contractions: offsetting effects on prenatal care and infant health?,"
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Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 313-335, March.
- Janet Currie & Jeffrey Grogger, 2000. "Medicaid Expansions and Welfare Contractions: Offsetting Effects on Prenatal Care and Infant Health?," NBER Working Papers 7667, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Iacovou, Maria, 2001. "Family composition and children's educational outcomes," ISER Working Paper Series 2001-12, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
- Kobayashi, Miki & Usui, Emiko, 2014. "Breastfeeding Practices and Parental Employment in Japan," IZA Discussion Papers 8116, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Bertoni, Marco & Brunello, Giorgio, 2013. "Laterborns Don't Give Up: The Effects of Birth Order on Earnings in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 7679, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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