New Evidence on the Causal Link between the Quantity and Quality of Children

51 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2006

See all articles by Joshua D. Angrist

Joshua D. Angrist

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Victor Lavy

University of Warwick - Department of Economics; Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Analia Schlosser

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2006

Abstract

A longstanding question in the economics of the family is the relationship between sibship size and subsequent human capital formation and economic welfare. If there is a causal "quantity-quality tradeoff," then policies that discourage large families should lead to increased human capital, higher earnings, and, at the macro level, promote economic development. Ordinary least squares regression estimates and a large theoretical literature suggest that this is indeed the case. This paper presents new evidence on the childquantity/child-quality trade-off. Our empirical strategy exploits exogenous variation in family size due to twin births and preferences for a mixed sibling-sex composition, as well as ethnic differences in the effects of these variables and preferences for male births in some ethnic groups. We use these sources of variation to look at the causal effect of family size on completed educational attainment, fertility, and earnings. For the purposes of this analysis, we constructed a unique matched data set linking Israeli Census data with information on the demographic structure of families drawn from a population registry. Our results show no evidence of a quantity-quality trade-off, though some estimates from one subsample suggest that first-born girls from large families marry sooner.

Keywords: fertility, quantity-quality trade-offs, instrumental variables

JEL Classification: J13, J24, O12

Suggested Citation

Angrist, Joshua and Lavy, Victor and Schlosser, Analia, New Evidence on the Causal Link between the Quantity and Quality of Children (April 2006). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2075. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=898570

Joshua Angrist (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

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Victor Lavy

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Analia Schlosser

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics ( email )

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Jerusalem, 91905
Israel
+972 2 588 3132 (Phone)
+972 2 581 6071 (Fax)

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