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ERIC Number: ED147437
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1977-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Family Characteristics and Achievement: Effects of Birth Order and Family Size of the Kalamazoo Brothers Sample. Discussion Papers No. 431-77.
Olneck, Michael R.; Bills, David B.
Research on the effects of birth order on cognitive ability often fails to control relevant variables related to family background and does not usually investigate the effects of birth order among members of the same family. Consequently, apparently significant birth order effects may in fact be spurious. This study uses a sample of brothers (Kalamazoo Brothers Sample) to investigate the effects of birth order within families on: sixth grade test scores, educational attainment, adult occupational status, and earnings. Despite a detailed search for both linear and nonlinear effects of birth order, the analyses suggest few statistically significant, large, or consistent effects. Allowing the effects of birth order to vary by age-spacing does not alter this finding. Unlike the effects of birth order, the effects of family size are significant. The effects of increased family size diminish as family size grows larger. The nonlinear effects of family size are reduced appreciably when other measures of socioeconomic status are controlled. The effects of family size on educational attainment once socioeconomic background and test scores are controlled are small but significant. The results suggest that the most important independent consequence of larger families for the attainment process is lowered cognitive skill. This apparent effect may, however, itself be spurious. (Author/AM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Wisconsin Univ., Madison. Inst. for Research on Poverty.