Food for Thought: The Birth Order Effect and Resource Allocation in Indonesia

39 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2016

See all articles by Lauren Calimeris

Lauren Calimeris

St. John Fisher College

Christina Peters

Metropolitan State University of Denver

Date Written: June 6, 2016

Abstract

Despite the large literature linking birth order to socioeconomic outcomes, research uncovering the mechanisms that drive these effects has been rare. We construct a unique measure of food allocation to examine whether preferential resource allocation among siblings explains the birth order effect on cognitive ability in a developing country. We document birth order differences in cognition among children and young adults, showing that second and third borns perform worse on spatial and mathematical cognition tests compared to their firstborn siblings. We find further evidence suggesting that parents allocate resources differentially among siblings, with second and third born children receiving less food. Despite these differences in food allocation, these preferences do not appear to drive the differences in cognitive ability in our sample. To our knowledge, this is the first paper both to confirm the presence of a birth order effect on cognition in a developing country and to test empirically whether a preference in food allocation contributes to this effect.

Keywords: birth order, cognition, food allocation

JEL Classification: J13, D13

Suggested Citation

Calimeris, Lauren and Peters, Christina, Food for Thought: The Birth Order Effect and Resource Allocation in Indonesia (June 6, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2821263 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2821263

Lauren Calimeris (Contact Author)

St. John Fisher College ( email )

3690 East Ave.
Rochester, NY 14618
United States

Christina Peters

Metropolitan State University of Denver

Student Success Building
890 Auraria Pkwy #310
Denver, CO 80204
United States

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