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The Trade-off between Child Quantity and Quality

Eric A. Hanushek
Journal of Political Economy
Vol. 100, No. 1 (Feb., 1992), pp. 84-117
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2138807
Page Count: 34
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Trade-off between Child Quantity and Quality
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Abstract

An empirical investigation of trade-offs between number of children and their scholastic performance confirms that family size directly affects children's achievement. Though parents show no favoritism to first-born children, being early in the birth order implies a distinct advantage, entirely because of the higher probability of being in a small family. Recent large changes in family size explain a portion of aggregate test score declines, but increased divorce rates and market work by mothers have no apparent impact. Finally, teachers are shown to differ enormously, even though performance differences are poorly captured by commonly measured teacher characteristics. The evidence supports a teacher skill interpretation of differences in classroom achievement.

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