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Birth Order and the Intrahousehold Allocation of Time and Education


  • Mette Ejrnæs

    (Institute of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Claus Chr. Pörtner

    (Department of Economics, Georgetown University)


A potential determinant of intrahousehold distribution is the birth order of children. While a number of studies have analysed birth order effects in developed countries there are still only a few dealing with developing countries. This paper develops a model of intrahousehold allocation with endogenous fertility, which captures the relation between birth order and investment in children and shows that a birth order effect in intrahousehold allocation can arise even without assumptions about parental preferences for specific birth order children or genetic endowments varying by birth order. The important contribution is that fertility is treated as endogenous, something which other models of intrahousehold allocation have ignored despite the large literature on determinants of fertility. The implications of the model are that children with higher birth orders have an advantage over siblings with lower birth orders and that parents who are inequality averse will not have more than one child. The model furthermore shows that not taking account of the endogeneity of fertility when analysing intrahousehold allocation may seriously bias the results. The effects of a child’s birth order on its human capital accumulation are analysed using a longitudinal data set from the Philippines. Contrary to most longitudinal data sets this data set covers a very long period. We are, therefore, able to examine the effects of birth order on both number of hours in school during education and completed education. The results for both are consistent with the predictions of the model.

Suggested Citation

  • Mette Ejrnæs & Claus Chr. Pörtner, 2002. "Birth Order and the Intrahousehold Allocation of Time and Education," CAM Working Papers 2002-09, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuieca:2002_09

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    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development


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