A new paper published online in the Journal of Population Economics finds for European countries that parents who are firstborns are better educated and have more educated children compared with later born parents.
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The intergenerational effects of birth order on education
by Enkelejda Havari and Marco Savegnago
Author 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.
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