Does the birth order affect the cognitive development of a child?
This article investigates the link between position in the birth order and early scholastic ability. Using matched mother-child data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1979 cohort, NLSY79), I find that being the first-born is beneficial even after controlling for (nonlinear) effects of family size and child characteristics. The verbal ability of first-borns is about one-tenth of a SD higher than for children in the middle of the birth order. There is no evidence that last-borns fare better than intermediate children. The first-born advantage is confirmed by estimates from within-family variation models and I argue that the findings are consistent with the resource dilution hypothesis.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Department of Economics and Center for Demography and Population Health, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-2180, USA
Publication date: 2009-06-01