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Parental Educational Investment and Children's Academic Risk: Estimates of the Impact of Sibship Size and Birth Order from Exogenous Variations in Fertility

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  • Dalton Conley
  • Rebecca Glauber

Abstract

The stylized fact that individuals who come from families with more children are disadvantaged in the schooling process has been one of the most robust effects in human capital and stratification research over the last few decades. For example, Featherman and Hauser (1978: 242-243) estimate that each additional brother or sister costs respondents on the order of a fifth of a year of schooling. However, more recent analyses suggest that the detrimental effects of sibship size on children's educational achievement might be spurious. We extend these recent analyses of spuriousness versus causality using a different method and a different set of outcome measures. We suggest an instrumental variable approach to estimate the effect of sibship size on children's private school attendance and on their likelihood of being held back in school. Specifically, we deploy the sex-mix instrument used by Angrist and Evans (1998). Analyses of educational data from the 1990 PUMS five percent sample reveal that children from larger families are less likely to attend private school and are more likely to be held back in school. Our estimates are smaller than traditional OLS estimates, but are nevertheless greater than zero. Most interesting is the fact that the effect of sibship size is uniformly strongest for latter-born children and zero for first born children.

Suggested Citation

  • Dalton Conley & Rebecca Glauber, 2005. "Parental Educational Investment and Children's Academic Risk: Estimates of the Impact of Sibship Size and Birth Order from Exogenous Variations in Fertility," NBER Working Papers 11302, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11302 Note: CH ED HE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "The Demand for Sons," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1085-1120.
    2. Alan Krueger & Diane Whitmore, 2001. "Would Smaller Classes Help Close the Black-White Achievement Gap?," Working Papers 830, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    3. James J. Heckman & Thomas E. MaCurdy, 1985. "A Simultaneous Equations Linear Probability Model," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 18(1), pages 28-37, February.
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    5. Angrist, Joshua D & Krueger, Alan B, 1995. "Split-Sample Instrumental Variables Estimates of the Return to Schooling," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 225-235, April.
    6. repec:fth:prinin:451 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Sandra E. Black & Paul G. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2004. "The More the Merrier? The Effect of Family Composition on Children's Education," NBER Working Papers 10720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. 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.
    9. Krueger, Alan B. & Zhu, Pei, 2002. "Another Look at the New York City School Voucher Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 663, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Angrist, Joshua D & Evans, William N, 1998. "Children and Their Parents' Labor Supply: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Family Size," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 450-477, June.
    11. Kristin F. Butcher & Anne Case, 1994. "The Effect of Sibling Sex Composition on Women's Education and Earnings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 531-563.
    12. Alan Krueger & Diane Whitmore, 2001. "Would Smaller Classes Help Close the Black-White Achievement Gap?," Working Papers 830, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Claudia Sanhueza, 2009. "Family Size and Birth Order in Chile: Using Twins as a Natural Experiment," ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers inv234, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines.
    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. Ponczek, Vladimir Pinheiro & Souza, André Portela Fernandes de, 2007. "The causal effect of family size on child labor and education," Textos para discussão 162, FGV/EESP - Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    4. Frini, Olfa & Muller, Christophe, 2012. "Demographic transition, education and economic growth in Tunisia," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 351-371.
    5. Jung Hur & Yohanes E. Riyanto, 2012. "Organizational Structure and Product Market Competition," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(3), pages 707-743, September.
    6. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy & Analia Schlosser, 2005. "New Evidence on the Causal Link Between the Quantity and Quality of Children," NBER Working Papers 11835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Huber, Martin, 2012. "Statistical verification of a natural "natural experiment": Tests and sensitivity checks for the sibling sex ratio instrument," Economics Working Paper Series 1219, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    8. Millimet, Daniel & Wang, Le, 2005. "Is the Quantity-Quality Trade-off Really a Trade-off for All?," Departmental Working Papers 0502, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
    9. Elizabeth Cascio, 2005. "School Progression and the Grade Distribution of Students: Evidence from the Current Population Survey," Working Papers 56, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    10. Alison Booth & Hiau Kee, 2009. "Birth order matters: the effect of family size and birth order on educational attainment," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(2), pages 367-397, April.
    11. Vladimir Ponczek & Andre Portela Souza, 2012. "New Evidence of the Causal Effect of Family Size on Child Quality in a Developing Country," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(1), pages 64-106.
    12. Jason M. Fletcher & Steven F. Lehrer, 2009. "Using Genetic Lotteries within Families to Examine the Causal Impact of Poor Health on Academic Achievement," NBER Working Papers 15148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Meltem Dayioğlu & Murat G. Kirdar & Aysit Tansel, 2009. "Impact of Sibship Size, Birth Order and Sex Composition on School Enrolment in Urban Turkey," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 71(3), pages 399-426, June.
    14. Ding, Weili & Lehrer, Steven F. & Rosenquist, J.Niels & Audrain-McGovern, Janet, 2009. "The impact of poor health on academic performance: New evidence using genetic markers," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 578-597, May.
    15. 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 for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Wendt, Minh & Kinsey, Jean D., 2009. "Childhood Overweight and School Outcomes," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 49347, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    17. repec:eee:chieco:v:44:y:2017:i:c:p:138-153 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Rees, Daniel I. & Lopez, Elizabeth & Averett, Susan L. & Argys, Laura M., 2008. "Birth order and participation in school sports and other extracurricular activities," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 354-362, June.

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    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General

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