Birth Spacing and Sibling Health Inequality at Birth

Aparna Lhila, Cornell University

Household decision making regarding resource allocation and birth spacing impacts child quality and sibling health inequality. Parents are concerned with child health and future fertility decisions are strategies that respond to realized child endowment. The goal of this paper is to examine the birth spacing effect on sibling health inequality. We use an instrumental variables approach to circumvent the bias that arises due to the existence of inter-household and intra-household endowment heterogeneity in the estimation of the birth spacing effect. Parents who have a preference for sons postpone the birth following the birth of a boy. Furthermore, access to contraception aids parents in realizing their spacing strategies. Data from the Malaysian Family Life Survey are used and we expect to find that although an increase in birth spacing has a beneficial impact on the birth weight of infants, it also increases the inequality in the well-being of siblings at birth.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Aging, Life Course, Health, Mortality, and Health Care