The Educational and Fertility Effects of Sibling Deaths

50 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2018 Last revised: 21 May 2020

See all articles by Dhanushka Thamarapani

Dhanushka Thamarapani

California State University, Chico

Marc Rockmore

Clark University - Department of Economics

Willa Friedman

University of Houston - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 15, 2020

Abstract

An emerging literature documents the long-term consequences of adverse events in childhood on subsequent adult outcomes and behavior. We extend this research by studying the effect of experiencing a sibling death as a child on subsequent educational and fertility outcomes in Indonesia. Using panel data and a sibling fixed effects model, we identify this relationship based on variation in the age of surviving siblings at the time of the death. Our findings support the importance and persistence of adverse childhood experiences as surviving brothers have lower education attainment. In contrast, there is no effect on surviving sisters. More broadly, the effects vary more within than across households as a child’s age at the time of the death is ten times more important than whether or not a household experienced a child death. These effects appear to be caused by within household adjustments as older children drop out of school and prematurely enter the labor force. Our findings overall suggest that interventions targeted at early-life outcomes may have important ripple effects and that the full impact of health interventions may not be visible until decades afterwards.

Keywords: Child Mortality, Siblings, Education, Fertility

JEL Classification: I10, J13, J16, O53

Suggested Citation

Thamarapani, Dhanushka and Rockmore, Marc and Friedman, Willa, The Educational and Fertility Effects of Sibling Deaths (May 15, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3172537 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3172537

Dhanushka Thamarapani (Contact Author)

California State University, Chico ( email )

400 W 1st Street
Chico, CA 95928
United States

HOME PAGE: http://dthamarapani.com

Marc Rockmore

Clark University - Department of Economics ( email )

950 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01610
United States

Willa Friedman

University of Houston - Department of Economics ( email )

Houston, TX 77204-5882
United States

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