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Sibling effects on adult earnings among poor and wealthy children: Evidence from Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

While previous research in general observes adverse effects of siblings on children, less is known about the ways in which material circumstances condition these effects. Using propensity score matching on longitudinal data, this study estimates the effects of being an only child, being born first, and having a large sibling group on adult earnings. Estimates are made for poor and wealthy children respectively in order to examine whether effects occur for both groups. The results show that being an only child, or having a large sibling group, impacts negatively on adult earnings among poor children. Having one younger sibling furthermore has a positive effect on adult earnings among poor children. No corresponding effects were observed for wealthy children. The results indicate that sibling effects are not linear and that they are dependent on family resources.

Keyword [en]
Siblings, earnings, propensity score matching, poverty, affluence
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-127660OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-127660DiVA: diva2:1047147
Available from: 2016-11-16 Created: 2016-11-16 Last updated: 2016-11-17
In thesis
1. The Impact of Family Composition on Adult Earnings
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Impact of Family Composition on Adult Earnings
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis addresses to what extent childhood family composition – the number of siblings and whether the parents live together, or whether there are non-parental adults and/or half-siblings in the household or not – contributes to variations in adult earnings. The theoretical perspective suggests that resources mediate the effect. While research has shown that siblings, as well as divorce and remarriage, are negatively linked to child outcomes, there are inconsistencies in previous literature. There has been debate over the unconfoundedness of previous studies, something that is handled here by analyzing large sets of representative data using a robust parameter. The longitudinal dataset used is based on Swedish administrative data and the cohorts analyzed are born in the beginning of the 1970s. The data structure is well suited for the assumptions underlying the semi-parametric method propensity score matching.

The findings show that family size impacts on adult earnings. However, this is not always of concern. For example, no effect of siblings is found in affluent families, and if siblings are closely spaced this results in better outcomes for children. Divorce and remarriage do not seem to lower the future earnings of children. Thus, this thesis shows that some of the most well-established patterns in the sociology of the family, namely the link between number of siblings and adult earnings, and between divorce/family re-formation and adult earnings, can be broken by resources.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2016. 35 p.
Series
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Sociologiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 1104-2508 ; A78
Keyword
Family composition, siblings, divorce, remarriage, adult earnings, propensity score matching
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-127663 (URN)978-91-7601-596-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-12-09, Hörsal E, Humanisthuset, Umeå Universitet, Umeå, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-11-18 Created: 2016-11-16 Last updated: 2016-12-01Bibliographically approved

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