Document Type

Honors Project - Open Access


This paper explores the relationship between family size and child health outcomes in the United States. More specifically, it attempts to determine if the number of siblings has a causal effect on child health. Becker’s Quantity-Quality tradeoff suggests that more children (quantity) results to unhealthier children (quality). The main estimation strategy is the use of instrumental variables, for family size and health outcomes can be jointly determined by parental characteristics unseen and unaccounted for. In addition, a sub-analysis on families below the poverty line is conducted to see the additional effect of another child under more constricted circumstances. Lastly, the relationship between parents’ time with their children and family size is explored, since time is assumed to be another way to invest in a child. An econometric analysis of panel data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic’s National Longitudinal Surveys (NLS) points to a positive relationship between family size and health – the more siblings a child has, the healthier the child.

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Economics Commons



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