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The Early Bird gets the Worm? Birth Order Effects in a Dynamic Model of the Family

Birth order effects are found in empirical work, but lack theoretical foundations. Our new approach to modelling children provides this. Each child has the same genetic make-up and parents do not favour a child based on its birth order. Each child’s needs change as it grows, and births are sequential. At any point in time siblings are at different developmental stages, and the benefits of parental investment differ across these stages. Parental time investment in children lowers current and future wages; this opportunity cost varies across time. Birth order effects emerge from the interaction of the changing benefits and costs of parental investment.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Victoria in its series Department Discussion Papers with number 0710.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 16 Dec 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:vic:vicddp:0710
Note: ISSN 1914-2838
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  1. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1996. "The Economic Consequences of Parental Leave Mandates: Lessons from Europe," NBER Working Papers 5688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Maxim Engers & Steven Stern, 2002. "Long-Term Care and Family Bargaining," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(1), pages 73-114, February.
  3. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "The More the Merrier? The Effect of Family Size and Birth Order on Children's Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 669-700.
  4. Bergstrom, Theodore C & Cornes, Richard C, 1983. "Independence of Allocative Efficiency from Distribution in the Theory of Public Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1753-65, November.
  5. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
  6. Kessler, Daniel, 1991. "Birth Order, Family Size, and Achievement: Family Structure and Wage Determination," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(4), pages 413-26, October.
  7. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1998. "Parental Leave and Child Health," NBER Working Papers 6554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2000. "Women on Welfare: A Macroeconomic Analysis," RCER Working Papers 466, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  9. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2008. "Universal Child Care, Maternal Labor Supply, and Family Well-Being," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 709-745, 08.
  10. Joseph Price, 2008. "Parent-Child Quality Time: Does Birth Order Matter?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
  11. Angrist, Joshua & Lavy, Victor & Schlosser, Analia, 2006. "New Evidence on the Causal Link between the Quantity and Quality of Children," IZA Discussion Papers 2075, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. 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, .
  13. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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