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Journal Articles Journal of Population Economics Year : 2022

The intergenerational effects of birth order on education


Abstract We study the intergenerational effect of birth order on educational attainment using rich data from different European countries included in the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). The survey allows us to link two or more generations in different countries. We use reduced-form models linking children’s education to parents’ education, controlling for a large number of characteristics measured at different points in time. We find that not only are parents who are themselves firstborns better educated, on average, but they also have more-educated children compared with laterborn parents (intergenerational effect). Results are stronger for mothers than for fathers, and for daughters than for sons. In terms of heterogeneous effects, we find that girls born to firstborn mothers have higher educational attainment than girls born to laterborn mothers. We do not find evidence for potential channels other than parental education that could explain the intergenerational effect of parental birth order.

Dates and versions

hal-03595676 , version 1 (03-03-2022)



Enkelejda Havari, Marco Savegnago. The intergenerational effects of birth order on education. Journal of Population Economics, 2022, 35 (1), pp.349-377. ⟨10.1007/s00148-020-00810-5⟩. ⟨hal-03595676⟩
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