The Birth Order Effect: A Modern Phenomenon? Ana Nuevo-Chiquero with Marian Vidal-Fernandez and Jee-Yeon K. Lehmann - Economics Seminar

Event Date: 15 February 2023

Speaker: Ana Nuevo-Chiquero

Time: 4-5:15pm

Location: Please contact Rachel Hill ( for Zoom details, on campus TL455

Abstract: "We provide a historical perspective on the birth order effect and its contributions to the observed quality-quantity tradeoff in families by examining differences in adult economic outcomes among male siblings in 19th and early 20th century Netherlands. Using a rich historical Dutch family-linked administrative birth and marriage registry records, we analyze the role of family composition and socioeconomic status on within-birth cohort occupational rank using family-fixed effects models. Consistent with findings in modern developed countries, we find that later-born males have lower- ranked occupations than their earlier-born brothers. Also consistent with evidence from emerging economies like India and China, this birth order effect is primarily driven by differences between the first- and the last-born and by the number of males in the family. Birth order differences—particularly the first-born advantage—are larger among socioeconomically advantaged families and in more urbanised areas, while the opposite is true for the last-born effect. Surprisingly, first-born effects are not driven by inheritance rules or transmission of occupations to children born earlier. Taken together, our findings suggest that birth order effects and quantity-quality tradeoff in families, are not only modern phenomena but have been a source of context-dependent intrahousehold inequality throughout centuries.."

Published: 8 February 2023

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