Does the Birth Order Affect the Cognitive Development of a Child?
Frank Heiland, Florida State University
We investigate the effects of birth order on child cognitive development, using large child and sibling samples obtained from the mother-child data of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979. Controlling for various determinants of cognitive development we find that having a high birth rank is detrimental and that the gap between adjacent siblings is larger for children early in the birth sequence. The pattern is strongest for non-Hispanic white and Hispanic children. Among African-American children no difference between the first- and the second-born child is found. The negative birth order effects are robust to specification that control for family fixed effects, use a sibling first difference approach, or account for subsequent siblings.