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Family size and child outcomes: Is there really no trade-off?

  • Åslund, Olof

    ()

    (IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation)

  • Grönqvist, Hans

    ()

    (Uppsala University)

Recent empirical work questions the negative relationship between family size and children’s attainments proposed by theoretical work and supported by a large empirical literature. We use twin births as an exogenous source of variation in family size in an unusually rich dataset where it is possible to separately look at intermediate and long run outcomes. We find little evidence of a causal effect on long term outcomes such as years of schooling and earnings, and studies that do not take selection effects into account are likely to overstate the effects. We do, however, find a small but significant negative impact of family size on grades in compulsory and secondary school.

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Paper provided by IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy in its series Working Paper Series with number 2007:15.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: 11 Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2007_015
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  1. Alison Booth & Hiau Joo Kee, 2005. "Birth Order Matters: The Effect of Family Size and Birth Order on Educational Attainment," CEPR Discussion Papers 506, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  2. Sandra E. Black & Paul Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2007. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," Working Papers 200718, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  3. 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.
  4. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2004. "The Demand for Sons: Evidence from Divorce, Fertility, and Shotgun Marriage," NBER Working Papers 10281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2010. "Small Family, Smart Family? Family Size and the IQ Scores of Young Men," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(1).
  6. Steven Haider & Gary Solon, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variation in the Association between Current and Lifetime Earnings," NBER Working Papers 11943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S279-88, Part II, .
  8. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Henry Ohlsson & Michael Lundholm, 2002. "Who takes care of the children? The quantity-quality model revisited," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 455-461.
  10. Joshua D. Angrist, 2004. "Treatment effect heterogeneity in theory and practice," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(494), pages C52-C83, 03.
  11. Åslund, Olof & Grönqvist, Hans, 2007. "Family size and child outcomes: Is there really no trade-off?," Working Paper Series 2007:15, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  12. Anders Bohlmark & Matthew J. Lindquist, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variations in the Association between Current and Lifetime Income: Replication and Extension for Sweden," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 879-900, October.
  13. Nathan Grawe, 2008. "The quality–quantity trade-off in fertility across parent earnings levels: a test for credit market failure," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 29-45, March.
  14. Gunnar Andersson & Jan M. Hoem & Ann-Zofie Duvander, 2005. "Social differentials in speed-premium effects in childbearing in Sweden," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2005-027, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  15. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1976. "Child Endowments and the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S143-62, August.
  16. Hanushek, Eric A, 1992. "The Trade-Off between Child Quantity and Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 84-117, February.
  17. Behrman, Jere R & Taubman, Paul, 1986. "Birth Order, Schooling, and Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages S121-45, July.
  18. Dustmann, Christian & Schönberg, Uta, 2008. "The Effect of Expansions in Maternity Leave Coverage on Children's Long-Term Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 3605, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. Butcher, Kristin F & Case, Anne, 1994. "The Effect of Sibling Sex Composition on Women's Education and Earnings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 531-63, August.
  20. Hirvonen, Lalaina, 2009. "The Effect of Children on Earnings Using Exogenous Variation in Family Size: Swedish Evidence," Working Paper Series 2/2009, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  21. Pettersson-Lidbom, Per & Skogman Thoursie, Peter, 2009. "Does child spacing affect children’s outcomes? Evidence from a Swedish reform," Working Paper Series 2009:7, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  22. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
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