Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The Effect of Birth Order on Educational Attainment among the Baby Boom Generation

Handy, Christopher and Shester, Katharine (2020): The Effect of Birth Order on Educational Attainment among the Baby Boom Generation.

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Abstract

We show that changes in birth order during the baby boom can explain a substantial share of the stagnation and recovery in educational attainment among cohorts born between 1946 and 1974. Combining birth order effects estimated using the Health and Retirement Survey and birth order data from Vital Statistics, we estimate that changes in birth order can explain more than 20 percent of the decline in white male college completion rates among the 1946–1960 cohorts, and more than one third of the rebound among the 1960–1974 cohorts. We also revisit the role of cohort size, finding smaller effects than previously reported.

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