Trade-offs in the family: Sibling effects on daughters’ activities in 1910

Abstract

This paper uses the 1910 Census Public Use Sample to examine how the presence and activities of key family members shaped the labor force activity, domestic work, and schooling of working-age daughters. There is no evidence that daughters worked to send their brothers to school; parents practiced a more egalitarian distribution of resources than the literature suggests. Having brothers and sisters in school increased a daughter’s odds of attending school herself. Similarly, daughters with employed siblings were more likely to be gainfully employed. Nonetheless, parents allocated activities to sons and daughters in ways that reinforced traditional gender roles. Working brothers increase daughters’ likelihood of working in the home, while reducing their odds of attending school.

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This research was supported by NICHD Training Grant HD07338-05 from the Population Studies and Training Center at Brown University and by NIA Grant T32-AG00237 from the Department of Population Dynamics at Johns Hopkins University. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 1994 annual meetings of the Population Association of America, held in Miami. I thank Ann Biddlecom, Calvin Goldscheider, Felicia LeClere, Bill Marton, Bob Schoen, Michael J. White, two anonymous reviewers, and both Avery Guest and Frances Goldscheider for their encouraging and constructive suggestions.

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Sassler, S. Trade-offs in the family: Sibling effects on daughters’ activities in 1910. Demography 32, 557–575 (1995). https://doi.org/10.2307/2061675

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Keywords

  • Labor Force
  • Immigrant Woman
  • School Attendance
  • Domestic Work
  • Traditional Gender Role