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The effect of overcrowded housing on children's performance at school

  • Goux, Dominique
  • Maurin, Eric

This paper provides estimates of the causal effect of living in an overcrowded home on performance at school in France. Our identification strategy relies on the fact that the size and housing conditions of families vary with the sex composition of the siblings. In particular, large families in which the two youngest children are (by descending age) a boy and a girl tend to live less often in overcrowded housing than the other families. French parents seem to be more reluctant about bringing up their children in the same room when they are not of the same sex, especially when the youngest one is a girl. We build on these results to develop several econometric analyses of the effect of overcrowding on schooling outcomes using variables describing the sex composition of the siblings as instrumental variables. These different strategies reveal that the very strong statistical relationship between housing conditions and academic failure is plausibly one of cause and effect. Children in large families perform much less well than children in small families, but our IV estimates suggest that this is mostly due to the fact that they live in more overcrowded homes.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 89 (2005)
Issue (Month): 5-6 (June)
Pages: 797-819

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:89:y:2005:i:5-6:p:797-819
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. John Shea, 1997. "Does Parents' Money Matter?," NBER Working Papers 6026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. David M. Blau, 1999. "The Effect Of Income On Child Development," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 261-276, May.
  3. Magnac, Thierry & Maurin, Eric, 2003. "Identification and Information in Monotone Binary Models," IDEI Working Papers 180, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Oct 2004.
  4. Eric Maurin, 1999. "The Impact of Parental Income on Early Schooling Transitions : A Re-examination Using Data over Three Generations," Working Papers 99-69, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  5. Arthur Lewbel, 1999. "Semiparametric Qualitative Response Model Estimation with Unknown Heteroskedasticity or Instrumental Variables," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 454, Boston College Department of Economics.
  6. Currie, Janet & Yelowitz, Aaron, 2000. "Are public housing projects good for kids?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 99-124, January.
  7. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 1990. "The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment: An Application of Instrumental Variables with Moments from Two Samples," NBER Working Papers 3571, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Joshua D. Angrist & William N. Evans, 1996. "Children and Their Parents' Labor Supply: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Family Size," NBER Working Papers 5778, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Richard Blundell & James Powell, 2001. "Endogeneity in nonparametric and semiparametric regression models," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/01, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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