Sibling Composition and School Enrollment in Ghana

Kehinde F. Ajayi, University of California, Berkeley

This paper reexamines household decisions about investment in child education. In particular, I consider the role of siblings in determining school enrollment. Previous studies have found correlations between sibling characteristics and education outcomes of school children but this evidence has largely resulted from cross-sectional studies, making it difficult to identify a causal mechanism for sibling rivalry. This paper contributes to existing literature by presenting a longitudinal perspective. Using household data from all five rounds of the Ghana Living Standards Survey administered in 1987/88, 1988/89, 1991/92, 1998/99 and 2005/06, I estimate the importance of sibling sex in explaining the educational attainment of school-age children in each of the survey samples, holding the number of siblings and birth order fixed. I find that the sibling sex coefficients have changed over the period of study and I attempt to interpret the underlying motivations for household behavior in light of these changes.

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Presented in Poster Session 1