Economics Seminar Series: Helena Svaleryd, Uppsala University

Title: Birth Order and Child Health

Info about event


Tuesday 5 April 2016,  at 14:15 - 15:30


Fuglesangs Allé 4, 8210 Aarhus V, building 2632(L), room 242


Emma von Essen

Speaker: Helena Svaleryd, Uppsala University

Title: Birth Order and Child Health (with Evelina Lundberg)

Abstract: Previous research has established that birth order affects outcomes such as educational achievements, IQ and earnings. The mechanisms behind these effects are however still largely unknown. In this paper we examine birth order effects on health, and whether health at young age could be a transmission channel for birth order effects observed later in life. We find no support for the birth order effect having a biological origin; rather firstborns have worse health at birth. This disadvantage is reversed in early age and later-born siblings are more likely to be hospitalized for injuries and avoidable conditions, which could be related to less parental attention. In adolescence and as young adults younger siblings are more likely to be in poor mental health and to be admitted to hospital for alcohol induced health conditions. We also critically test for reverse causality by estimating fertility responses to health of existing children. We conclude that the effects on health are not severely biased, however the large negative birth order effects on infant mortality are partly due to endogenous fertility responses.

Organizer: Emma von Essen