Sam Jones, Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen:

"And the first shall be last?" The effect of birth order on cognitive skill acquisition in East Africa"


Does birth order matter for educational attainment? While evidence from developed countries suggests it does, evidence from low income countries remains limited. This study uses unique data for over 600,000 children in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to investigate variation in test scores by birth order. Controlling for household fixed effects and individual characteristics, later-born children perform significantly worse on literacy and numeracy tests than earlier-born children. A postulated mechanism for this result is differential investments in the earliest (critical) years. This is supported by evidence that birth order effects are largest where sibling competition is most intense.