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Testing the Children Quantity-Quality Trade-Off in India

Kumar, Santosh and Kugler, Adriana (2011): Testing the Children Quantity-Quality Trade-Off in India.

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Using data from a representative sample from India, we test the empirical validity of Quantity-Quality tarde-off model of Becker and Lewis (1973). To address the endogeneity arising from the joint determination of quantity and quality of children by parents, we instrument the family size by sex of the first child. We find a negative relationship between family size and children's educational attainment, even after controlling for parent's characteristics and birth order of children. The effects are heterogeneous. The trade-o is more pronounced in rural areas, for low-caste children, for illiterate mothers, and for children belonging to low wealth category. Overall, the findings support the quantity-quality trade-o in a resource poor setting such as India. Given that for long-run economic development, the quality of human capital is equally important, policymakers should invest more in education and other welfare programs in order to mitigate the adverse impacts of the trade-off.

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