Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
Lund University, Department of Economics

No 2018:3: The Effect of a Sibling's Gender on Earnings, Education and Family Formation

Noemi Peter (), Petter Lundborg (), Sara Mikkelsen () and Dinand Webbink ()
Additional contact information
Noemi Peter: Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Groningen
Petter Lundborg: Department of Economics, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden
Sara Mikkelsen: Department of Economics, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden
Dinand Webbink: Erasmus School of Economics, Rotterdam

Abstract: We examine how the gender of a sibling affects earnings, education and family formation. Identification is complicated by parental preferences: if parents prefer certain sex compositions over others, children's gender affects not only the outcomes of other children but also the existence of potential additional children. We employ two empirical strategies that both address this problem. First, we look at a sample of dizygotic (i.e. non-identical) twins. Second, we use a large sample of singletons to estimate whether first-borns are affected by the gender of their second-born sibling. We find that a same-sex sibling increases men's earnings and family formation outcomes (marriage and number of children), as compared to an opposite-sex sibling. Women with a same-sex sibling also earn more and are somewhat more likely to form a family in the singleton sample. A large part of the positive effect on men's income can be explained by competition among brothers. Women on the other hand seem to benefit from sisters because of shared labor market networks. The effects on family formation might stem from differential parental treatment for men, and from competition between sisters for women.

Keywords: sibling gender; sex composition; twins; income; schooling; fertility

JEL-codes: J00; J13; J16; J24

45 pages, February 26, 2018

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