Advertisement

Family Size and Educational Attainment: Cousins, Contexts, and Compensation

  • Ea Hoppe Blaabæk
  • Mads Meier JægerEmail author
  • Joseph Molitoris
Article

Abstract

This paper analyses the effect of family size on children’s educational attainment using a new research design that combines fixed effects and instrumental variable (IV) approaches. We use (a) data on first cousins who belong to the same extended family but to different nuclear families to control for extended family fixed effects and (b) variation in in-married spouses’ number of siblings (a proxy for their fecundity and preferences) as an IV for variation in family size within extended families. We find that family size has a negative causal effect on educational attainment and, moreover, that the negative effect is smaller in families with stronger social ties. Our results suggest that contextual characteristics outside the nuclear family moderate the negative effect of family size on children’s educational attainment.

Keywords

Family size Resource dilution Educational attainment Fixed effects Instrumental variables Contexts 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This paper has been presented at the 2016 RC28 Spring Meeting at the University of Bern, the 2016 Nordic Sociological Association Conference at the University of Helsinki, at the 2017 Population Association of America Conference in Chicago, and at a research seminar at Lund University. The research leading to the results presented in this paper has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007e2013)/ERC Grant No. 312906.

References

  1. Altonji, J. G., Hayashi, F., & Kotlikoff, L. J. (1992). Is the extended family altruistically linked? Direct tests using micro data. American Economic Review,82, 1177–1198.Google Scholar
  2. Andersson, G., Karsten, H., Rønsen, M., & Vikat, A. (2006). Gendering family composition: Sex preferences for children and childbearing behavior in the Nordic countries. Demography,43(2), 255–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Angrist, J. D., Lavy, V., & Schlosser, A. (2010). Multiple experiments for the causal link between the quantity and quality of children. Journal of Labor Economics,28(4), 773–823.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Angrist, J. D., & Pischke, J. (2009). Mostly harmless econometrics: An empiricist’s companion. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Argys, L. M., & Averett, S. L. (2015). The effect of family size on education: New evidence from China’s one child policy (p. 9196). No: IZA Discussion Paper Series.Google Scholar
  6. Arnold, F., & Zhaoxiang, L. (1986). Sex preference, fertiltiy and family planning in China. Population and Development Review,12(2), 221–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Åslund, O., & Grönqvist, H. (2010). Family size and child outcomes: Is there really no trade-off? Labour Economics,17, 130–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Axinn, W. G., Clarkberg, M. E., & Thornton, A. (1994). Family influences on family size preferences. Demography,31(1), 65–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Baez, J. E. (2008). Does more mean better? Sibling sex composition and the link between family size and children’s quality. IZA Discussion Paper Series, No. 3472.Google Scholar
  10. Bagger, J., Birchenall, J. A., Mansour, H., & Urzúa, S. (2013). Education, birth order, and family size. IZA Discussion Paper Series, No. 7454.Google Scholar
  11. Becker, G. S. (1960). An economic analysis of fertility. Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries (pp. 209–240). Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Becker, G. S. (1993). A treatise on the family (Enlarged ed.). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Becker, G. S., & Lewis, H. G. (1973). On the interaction between the quantity and quality of children. Journal of Political Economy,81(2), S279–S288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Becker, G. S., & Tomes, N. (1976). Child endowments and the quantity and quality of children. Journal of Political Economy,84(4), S143–S162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bhalotra, S. & Clarke, D. (2016).The twin instrument. IZA Discussion Paper Series, No. 10405.Google Scholar
  16. Black, S. E., Devereux, P. J., & Salvanes, K. G. (2005). The more the merrier? The effect of family size and birth order on children’s education. The Quarterly Journal of Economics,120(2), 669–700.Google Scholar
  17. Black, S. E., Devereux, P. J., & Salvanes, K. G. (2010). Small family, smart family? Family size and the IQ scores of young men. The Journal of Human Resources,45(1), 33–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Blake, J. (1981). Family size and the quality of children. Demography,18(4), 421–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Bougma, M., LeGrand, T. K., & Kobiané, J.-F. (2015). Fertility decline and child schooling in urban settings of Burkina Faso. Demography,52(1), 281–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cáceres-Delpiano, J. (2006). The Impacts of family size on investment in child quality. The Journal of Human Resources,41(4), 738–754.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Clark, S. (2000). Son preference and sex composition of children: Evidence from India. Demography,37(1), 95–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Conley, D., & Glauber, R. (2006). Parental educational investment and children’s academic risk: Estimates of the impact of sibship size and birth order from exogenous variation in fertility. Journal of Human Resources,41(4), 722–737.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Crissey, S. R. (2005). Effect of pregnancy intention on child well-being and development: Combining retrospective reports of attitude and contraceptive use. Population Research and Policy Review,24(6), 593–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dahlberg, J. (2013). Family influence in fertility: A longitudinal analysis of sibling correlations in first birth risk and completed fertility among Swedish men and women. Demographic Research,29(9), 233–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Dang, H.-A. H., & Rogers, H. (2016). The decision to invest in child quality over quantity: Household size and household investment in education in Vietnam. World Bank Economic Review,30(1), 104–142.Google Scholar
  26. Dayiouglu, M., Kirdar, M. G., & Tansel, A. (2009). Impact of sibship size, birth order and sex composition on school enrolment in urban Turkey. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics,71(3), 399–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. de Haan, M. (2010). Birth order, family size and educational attainment. Economics of Education Review,29, 576–588.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Downey, D. B. (1995). When bigger is not better: Family size, parental resources. American Sociological Review,60(5), 746–761.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Dumas, C., & LeFranc, A. (2016). “Sex in marriage is a divine gift”? Evidence on the quantity-quality trade-off from the Manila contraceptive ban. The World Bank Economic Review, lhw005. Google Scholar
  30. Duncan, O. D., Freedman, R., Coble, J. M., & Slesinger, D. P. (1965). Marital fertility and size of family of orientation. Demography,2(1), 508–515.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Durlauf, S. N. (1996). A theory of persistent income inequality. Journal of Economic Growth,1, 75–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ferrari, G., & Zuanna, G. D. (2010). Siblings and human capital: A comparison between Italy and France. Demographic Research,23, 587–614.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Fitzsimons, E., & Malde, B. (2014). Empirically probing the quantity–quality model. Journal of Population Economics,27, 33–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Freedman, D. F., Freedman, R., & Whelpton, P. K. (1960). Size of family and preference for children of each sex. American Journal of Sociology,66(2), 141–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Frenette, M. (2011). Why do larger families reduce parental investments in child quality, but not child quality per se? Review of Economics of the Household,9(4), 523–537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Gibbs, B. G., Workman, J., & Downey, D. B. (2016). The (conditional) resource dilution model: State- and community-level modifications. Demography,53(3), 723–748.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Guo, G., & VanWey, L. (1999). Sibship Size and Intellectual Development: Is the Relationship Causal? American Sociological Review,64(2), 169–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Haider, S. J., & McGarry, K. (2018). Parental investments in college and later cash transfers. Demography,55, 1705–1725.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Herd, P., Deborah, C., & Roan, C. (2014). Cohort profile: Wisconsin longitudinal study (WLS). International Journal of Epidemiology,43, 34–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Imbens, G., & Angrist, J. D. (1994). Identificaiton and estimation of local average treatment effects. Econometrica,62(2), 467–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Jæger, M. M. (2008). Do large sibships really lead to lower educational attainment? New evidence from quasi-experimental variation in couples’ reproductive capacity. Acta Sociologica,51(3), 217–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Jæger, M. M. (2012). The extended family and children’s educational success. American Sociological Review,77(6), 903–922.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kalmijn, M., & van de Werfhorst, H. (2016). Sibship size and gendered resource dilution in different societal contexts. PLoS ONE,11(8), e0160953.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kang, C. (2011). Family size and educational investments in children: Evidence from private tutoring expenditures in South Korea. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics,73(1), 59–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Keister, L. A. (2003). Sharing the wealth: The effect of siblings on adults’ wealth ownership. Demography,40(3), 521–542.Google Scholar
  46. Kissin, D. M., Schieve, L. A., & Reynolds, M. A. (2005). Multiple-birth risk associated with IVF and extended embryo culture: USA, 2001. Human Reproduction,20(8), 2215–2223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Kosova, G., Abney, M., & Ober, C. (2010). Heritability of reproductive fitness traits in a human population. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,107(suppl. 1), 1772–1778.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Kugler, A. D., & Kumar, S. (2017). Preference for boys, family size and educational attainment in India. Demography,54(3), 835–859.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lee, J. (2008). Sibling size and investment in children’s education: An Asian instrument. Journal of Population Economics,21, 855–875.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Li, H., Zhang, J., & Zhu, Y. (2008). The quantity-quality trade-off of children in a developing country: Identification using Chinese twins. Demography,45(1), 223–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Lindahl, L. (2008). Do birth order and family size matter for intergenerational income mobility? Evidence from Sweden. Applied economics,40(17), 2239–2257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Liu, H. (2014). The quality–quantity trade-off: Evidence from the relaxation of China’s one-child policy. Journal of Population Economics,27, 565–602.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Lyngstad, T. H., & Prskawetz, A. (2010). Do siblings’ fertility decisions influence each other? Demography,47(4), 923–934.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Maralani, V. (2008). The changing relationship between family size and educational attainment over the course of socioeconomic development: Evidence from Indonesia. Demography,45(3), 693–717.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Marteleto, L., & de Souza, L. R. (2012). The changing impact of family size on adolescents’ schooling: Assessing the exogenous variation in fertility using twins in Brazil. Demography,49, 1453–1477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Mosli, R., Miller, A., Peterson, K., Kaciroti, N., Rosenblum, K., Baylin, A., et al. (2016). Birth order and sibship composition as predictors of overweight or obesity among low-income 4-to 8-year-old children. Pediatric Obesity,11(1), 40–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Murphy, M. (1999). Is the correlation between fertility of parents and children really weak? Social Biology,46(1–2), 122–145.Google Scholar
  58. Öberg, S. (2017). Too many is not enough: Studying how children are affected by their number of siblings and resource dilution in families. The History of the Family,22(2–3), 157–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Ochiai, H., Shirasawa, T., Ohtsu, T., Nishimura, R., Morimoto, A., Obuchi, R., Hoshino, H., Tajima, N., & Kokaze, A. (2012). Number of siblings, birth order, and childhood overweight: A population-based cross-sectional study in Japan. BMC Public Health, 12(1), 766.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Ponczek, V., & Sousa, A. P. (2012). New evidence of the causal effect of family size on child quality in a developing country. The Journal of Human Resources,47(1), 64–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Qian, N. (2009). Quantity-quality and the one child policy: The only-child disadvantage in school enrollment in rural China. NBER WORKING PAPER SERIES, Working Paper 14973. Google Scholar
  62. Régnier-Loilier, A. (2006). Influence of own sibship size on the number of children desired at various times of life: The case of France. Population (English Edition, 2002-),61(3), 165–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Rodgers, J. L., Cleveland, H. H., Van Den Oord, E., & Rowe, D. C. (2000). Resolving the debate over birth order, family size, and intelligence. American Psychologist, 55(6), 599–612.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Rodgers, J. L., Kohler, H., Kyvik, K. O., & Christensen, K. (2001). Behavior genetic modeling of human fertility: Findings from a contemporary Danish twin study. Demography,38(1), 29–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Rosenzweig, M. R., & Schultz, T. P. (1987). Fertility and investment in human capital. estimates of the consequence of imperfect fertility control in Malaysia. Journal of Econometrics,36, 163–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Rosenzweig, M. R., & Zhang, J. (2009). Do population control policies induce more human capital investment? Twins, birth weight and China’s “One-Child” policy. Review of Economic Studies Limited,76, 1149–1174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Sandberg, J., & Rafail, P. (2014). Family size, cognitive outcomes, and familial interaction in stable, two-parent families: United States, 1997–2002. Demography,51(5), 1895–1931.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Schoen, R., Astone, N. M., Kim, Y. J., Nathanson, C. A., & Fields, J. M. (1999). Do fertility intentions affect fertility behavior? Journal of Marriage and Family,61(3), 790–799.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Shavit, Y., & Pierce, J. L. (2001). Sibship size and educational attainment in nuclear and extended families: Arabs and Jews in Israel. American Sociological Review,56, 321–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Silles, M. (2010). The implications of family size and birth order for test scores and behavioral development. Economics of Education Review,29, 795–803.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Smith, J. F., Eisenberg, M. L., Glidden, D., Millstein, S. G., Cedars, M., Walsh, T. J., et al. (2011). Socioeconomic disparities in the use and success of fertility treatments: Analysis of data from a prospective cohort in the United States. Fertility and Sterility,96(1), 95–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Solon, G. (2009). A model of intergenerational mobility variation over time and place. In Generational income mobility in North America and Europe (pp. 38-47), Edited by Miles Corak. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  73. Staiger, D., & Stock, J. H. (1997). Instrumental variables regression with weak instruments. Econometrica,65(3), 557–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Steelman, L. C., Powell, B., Werum, R., & Carter, S. (2002). Reconsidering the effects of sibling configuration: recent advances and challenges. Annual Review of Sociology,28, 243–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Thomson, E. (1997). Couple childbearing desires, intentions, and births. Demography,34(3), 343–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Thomson, E., & Hoem, J. M. (1998). Couple childbearing plans and births in Sweden. Demography,35(3), 315–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Thomson, E., McDonald, E., & Bumpass, L. (1990). Fertility desires and fertility: Hers, His, and theirs. Demography,27(4), 579–588.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Vohr, B. R., Tyson, J. E., Wright, L. L., Perritt, R. L., Li, L., & Poole, W. K. (2009). Maternal age, multiple birth, and extremely low birth weight infants. The Journal of Pediatrics,124(1), 498–503e2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Warren, J. R., & Hauser, R. M. (1997). Social stratification across three generations: New evidence from the Wisconsin longitudinal study. American Sociological Review,62(4), 561–572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Workman, J. (2017). Sibling additions, resource dilution, and cognitive development during early childhood. Journal of Marriage and Family,79, 462–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Centre for Economic DemographyLund UniversityLundSweden

Personalised recommendations