Sibship Size and Gendered Resource Dilution in Different Societal Contexts

M. Kalmijn, H.G. van de Werfhorst

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Resource dilution theory hypothesizes that children’s educational attainment suffers from being raised with many siblings, as the parental resources have to be shared with more children. Based on economic and cultural theories, we hypothesize that resource dilution is gendered: especially a larger number of brothers is harmful to a person’s educational attainment. Using the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, covering 18 European
countries, we show that the number of brothers is more negatively related with the odds of obtaining a college degree than the number of sisters. This holds particularly for women. However, this pattern is weaker in countries that are known to have a more gender-egalitarian climate.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0160953
JournalPLoS One
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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