Is Gender Bias in Education Mediated by Sibling Configuration? Evidence from Egypt

Rania Salem, Princeton University

In this paper, the Resource Dilution model of parental investments in children is tested using nationally representative survey data on Egyptian adolescents. I investigate the statistical associations between adolescent educational attainment and three characteristics of the sibling group (size, ordinal position, and gender composition), and their interactions with the respondent’s gender. Findings show that sibship size has a net negative association with educational attainment. Contrary to Resource Dilution evidence from Western settings, first-born children in Egypt are disadvantaged relative to their later-born peers. The presence of older sisters in one’s sibling group has a particularly strong positive effect on schooling, indicating that girls may be withheld from school to free up or generate resources for their younger siblings’ education. While gender remains among the strongest determinants of education, sibling configuration plays a large role in mediating its impact. Revisions to the Resource Dilution mechanisms linking family structure to adolescents’ gendered outcomes are offered in conclusion.

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Presented in Session 10: Family Size and Human Capital