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Does More Mean Better? Sibling Sex Composition and the Link between Family Size and Children’s Quality

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  • Baez, Javier E.

    (World Bank)

Abstract

Exogenous variation in fertility from parental preferences for sex-mix among their children is used to identify the causal effect of family size on several measures associated with either the allocation of resources towards children within the household or the outcomes of these investments. Results using data from Colombia suggest that family size has negative effects on average child quality. Children from larger families have accumulated almost 1 year less of education, are less likely to enroll in school and about twice as likely to be held back in school. A larger family also increases the likelihood that oldest siblings share a room and reduces the chance that they have access to clean water and sanitary sewer facilities by approximately 15 percentage points, suggesting the existence of negative effects arising from limited household resources. Mothers in these households have less labor participation (over 27 percentage points) and their oldest children are also more likely to engage in labor activities or domestic chores. Children from larger families are also more likely to be physically or psychologically affected by domestic violence within the household. Other less robust but informative calculations using data on anthropometrics, morbidity and immunization records also fit well with the main results of the quasi-experimental research design. The evidence presented here is consistent with the tradeoff between the number and quality of children implied by the theoretical interdependence in their prices and is robust to different specifications, estimation methods and alternative sub-samples.

Suggested Citation

  • Baez, Javier E., 2008. "Does More Mean Better? Sibling Sex Composition and the Link between Family Size and Children’s Quality," IZA Discussion Papers 3472, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3472
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    Cited by:

    1. Abayomi Samuel Oyekale & Thonaeng Charity Maselwa, 2018. "Maternal Education, Fertility, and Child Survival in Comoros," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 15(12), pages 1-17, December.
    2. Daniel L. Millimet & Le Wang, 2011. "Is the Quantity-Quality Trade-Off a Trade-Off for All, None, or Some?," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(1), pages 155-195.
    3. Ea Hoppe Blaabæk & Mads Meier Jæger & Joseph Molitoris, 2020. "Family Size and Educational Attainment: Cousins, Contexts, and Compensation," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 36(3), pages 575-600, July.
    4. Jason Davis & Noli Brazil, 2016. "Migration, Remittances and Nutrition Outcomes of Left-Behind Children: A National-Level Quantitative Assessment of Guatemala," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 11(3), pages 1-17, March.
    5. Sarma & Parinduri, 2015. "Children and maternal migration: evidence from exogenous variations in family size," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(15), pages 1184-1187, October.
    6. Hatton, Timothy J. & Sparrow, Robert & Suryadarma, Daniel & van der Eng, Pierre, 2018. "Fertility and the health of children in Indonesia," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 67-78.
    7. Juliana Jaramillo-Echeverri, 2023. "La transición de la fecundidad en Colombia: nueva evidencia regional," Cuadernos de Historia Económica 60, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    8. Sarma, Vengadeshvaran & Parinduri, Rasyad, 2014. "Married men with children may stop working when their wives emigrate to work: Evidence from Sri Lanka," MPRA Paper 60752, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    fertility; household behavior; children’s well-being; Colombia;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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