The Educational and Fertility Effects of Sibling Deaths
50 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2018 Last revised: 21 May 2020
Date Written: May 15, 2020
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: Suggested Citation