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Oh Brother! Testing the Etiology of Sibling Effects Using External Cash Transfers


  • James Manley

    () (Department of Economics, Towson University)

  • Lia Fernald

    (School of Public Health, UC Berkeley)

  • Paul Gertler

    (Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley)


Siblings can slow child development, but distinguishing intrinsic from economic circumstances has been more difficult. The grants of the Oportunidades Mexican welfare program allo w us to test this linkage. We investigate whether transfers increase firstborn characteristics faster than other children�s characteristics, and whether the observed negative effects of being part of a larger set of siblings stem from having to share household resources. We find that firstborn children get larger physical and verbal benefits from transfers, but beha vioral improvements are less tied to cash than to program participation. Children in larger households seem resource constrained; there, transfers have larger impacts.

Suggested Citation

  • James Manley & Lia Fernald & Paul Gertler, 2012. "Oh Brother! Testing the Etiology of Sibling Effects Using External Cash Transfers," Working Papers 2012-03, Towson University, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:tow:wpaper:2012-03

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Stefan Öberg, 2015. "Sibship size and height before, during, and after the fertility decline," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 32(2), pages 29-74, January.

    More about this item


    PROGRESA; Oportunidades; Mexico; conditional cash transf ers; child development; child health; sibling effects; intrahousehold allocation.;

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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