Birth Order and Delinquency: Evidence from Denmark and Florida

51 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2017  

Sanni Breining

University of Aarhus

Joseph J. Doyle Jr.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Economics, Finance, Accounting (EFA); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

David N. Figlio

Northwestern University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Krzysztof Karbownik

Northwestern University

Jeffrey Roth

Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 14, 2017

Abstract

Birth order has been found to have a surprisingly large influence on educational attainment, yet much less is known about the role of birth order on delinquency outcomes such as disciplinary problems in school, juvenile delinquency, and adult crime: outcomes that carry significant negative externalities. This paper uses particularly rich datasets from Denmark and the state of Florida to examine these outcomes and explore potential mechanisms. Despite large differences in environments across the two areas, we find remarkably consistent results: in families with two or more children, second-born boys are on the order of 20 to 40 percent more likely to be disciplined in school and enter the criminal justice system compared to first-born boys even when we compare siblings. The data allow us to examine a range of potential mechanisms, and the evidence rules out differences in health at birth and the quality of schools chosen for children. We do find that parental time investment measured by time out of the labor force is higher for first-borns at ages 2-4, suggesting that the arrival of a second-born child extends early-childhood parental investments for first-borns.

JEL Classification: J010

Suggested Citation

Breining, Sanni and Doyle, Joseph J. and Figlio, David N. and Karbownik, Krzysztof and Roth, Jeffrey, Birth Order and Delinquency: Evidence from Denmark and Florida (February 14, 2017). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6330. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2925745

Sanni Breining

University of Aarhus ( email )

Nordre Ringgade 1
DK-8000 Aarhus C, 8000
Denmark

Joseph John Doyle Jr.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Economics, Finance, Accounting (EFA) ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
E52-410
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-452-3761 (Phone)
617-258-6855 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

David N. Figlio

Northwestern University ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Krzysztof Karbownik (Contact Author)

Northwestern University ( email )

Jeffrey Roth

Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics ( email )

PO Box 100296
Gainesville, FL 32610-0496
United States
3522620147 (Phone)
3522739054 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://familydata.health.ufl.edu/

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