Sibling configurations, educational aspiration and attainment

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ISER Working Paper Series


Feifei Bu

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Series Number



Previous studies have found that firstborn children enjoy a distinct advantage over their later- born counterparts in terms of educational attainment. This paper advances the state of knowledge in this area in two ways. First, it analyses the role of young people’s aspirations, estimating the effects of sibling configurations on adolescents’ educational aspirations, and the importance of these aspirations on later attainment. Second, it employs multilevel modelling techniques, using household-based data which include information on multiple children living in the same families. The paper finds that firstborn children have higher aspirations, and that these aspirations play a significant role in determining later levels of attainment. We also demonstrate a significant positive effect of age spacing on educational attainment.


Young People, Education and Childbearing: Fertility



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