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Birth Spacing and Sibling Outcomes

  • Kasey S. Buckles
  • Elizabeth L. Munnich

Using the NLSY79 and NLSY79 Child and Young Adult Surveys, we investigate the effect of the age difference between siblings (spacing) on educational achievement. Because spacing may be endogenous, we use an instrumental variables strategy that exploits variation in spacing driven by miscarriages. The IV results indicate that a one-year increase in spacing increases test scores for older siblings by about 0.17 standard deviations. These results are larger than the OLS estimates, suggesting that failing to account for the endogeneity of spacing may understate its benefits. For younger siblings, we find no causal impact of spacing on test scores.

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File URL: http://jhr.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/47/3/613
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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 47 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 613-642

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:46:y:2012:iii:1:p:613-642
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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  1. Sonia Bhalotra & Arthur van Soest, 2004. "Birth Spacing and Neonatal Mortality in India: Dynamics, Frailty and Fecundity," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 04/567, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
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  5. Deschenes, Olivier, 2002. "Estimating the Effects of Family Background on the Return to Schooling," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt2qm3867s, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
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  9. Robert Kaestner, 1997. "Are Brothers Really Better? Sibling Sex Composition and Educational Achievement Revisited," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(2), pages 250-284.
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  16. Elizabeth Ty Wilde & Lily Batchelder & David T. Ellwood, 2010. "The Mommy Track Divides: The Impact of Childbearing on Wages of Women of Differing Skill Levels," NBER Working Papers 16582, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Kessler, Daniel, 1991. "Birth Order, Family Size, and Achievement: Family Structure and Wage Determination," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(4), pages 413-26, October.
  18. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Wolpin, Kenneth I., 1984. "Heterogeneity, Intrafamily Distribution and Child Health," Bulletins 8429, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
  19. Olukoya, A. A., 1986. "Traditional child spacing practices of women: Experiences from a primary care project in Lagos, Nigeria," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 333-336, January.
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  21. Bhalotra, Sonia & Soest, Arthur van, 2008. "Birth-spacing, fertility and neonatal mortality in India: Dynamics, frailty, and fecundity," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 143(2), pages 274-290, April.
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