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Effects of Sibship Revisited: Evidence from Intra-Family Resource Transfer in Taiwan

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionChu, C.Y. Cyrus, Yu Xie, and Ruoh-rong Yu. 2006. "Effects of Sibship Revisited: Evidence from Intra-Family Resource Transfer in Taiwan." PSC Research Report No. 06-588. January 2006.

Numerous studies have consistently found negative effects of sibship size on educational outcomes. Three main explanations of these effects have been offered in the literature: (1) dilution of family resources, (2) a changing intellectual environment in the family for each succeeding sibling, and (3) unobserved selectivity at the family level. In this paper, we propose a fourth explanation as an extension of the resource dilution hypothesis: In a traditional or transitional society where resources from all family members are pooled together, families may sacrifice the educational opportunities of older (female) siblings, and use their remittance to compensate the family expenses, particularly when there are younger siblings. With analyses of data from the Panel Study of Family Dynamics (PSFD), we find empirical evidence in support of this explanation. In particular, we find that the negative effects of sibship size are the strongest for girls who could support their younger brothers and sisters who are spaced apart from them. We interpret this unusual high-order interaction involving sibship size, gender, density, and seniority within the context of Taiwan’s patriarchal culture, in which families typically favor boys over girls.

Country of focus: Taiwan.

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