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Effects of Birth Order and Sibling Sex Composition on Human Capital Investment in Children in India

Discussion Papers

No.319

January 2012

ABSTRACT

The paper explores the effects of birth order and sibling sex composition on human capital investment in children in India using the Indian Human Development Survey (IHDS). Endogeneity of fertility is addressed using instruments and controlling for household fixed effects. Family size effect is also distinguished from the sibling sex composition effect. Previous literature has often failed to take endogeneity into account and shows a negative birth order effect for girls in India. Once endogeneity of fertility is addressed, there is no evidence for a negative birth order effect or sibling sex composition effect for girls. Results show that boys are worse off in households that have a higher proportion of boys specifically when they have older brothers.

Keywords: birth order, sibling sex composition, household resource allocation, India
JEL classification: J13, J16, O12, O53

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