Son Preference in Educational Investment in Taiwan: The Role of Budget Constraints

Yi-Chun Chang, National Taiwan University
Jui-Chung Allen Li, Academia Sinica

Prior studies have shown that apart spaced sibship and having an additional younger sibling both have negative effects on the educational attainment of Taiwanese women, but not men. This finding is often interpreted as son preference in intrafamily allocation of resources. We argue that such gendered investment in children’s education only exists under budget constraint. Using full-sibship data from the 2002 and 2007 Taiwan Social Change Survey, we find that men with older siblings have higher educational attainment, while women with younger siblings have lower educational attainment. Moreover, we find that the positive effects of having an additional older sibling, mainly from older sisters, on men’s educational outcomes only exists in large families, but not small families. We conclude that Taiwanese parents exhibit weaker son preference in their investment in children’s education when the economic constraints become weaker.

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Presented in Poster Session 6