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Too many is not enough: studying how children are affected by their number of siblings and resource dilution in families

Inledande text i tidskrift
Författare Stefan Öberg
Publicerad i History of the Family
Volym 22
Nummer/häfte 2-3
Sidor 157-174
ISSN 1081-602X
Publiceringsår 2017
Publicerad vid Institutionen för ekonomi och samhälle, Ekonomisk historia
Sidor 157-174
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.1080/1081602X.2017.13...
Ämnesord endogeneity, family size, measurement error, Sibship size, statistical confounding
Ämneskategorier Demografi, Ekonomisk historia


© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This special issue contains a collection of papers that study how children are affected by their sibship size, using anthropometric data. The varied results provide a wealth of new knowledge and show that this influence is context-specific. In this paper I discuss the methodological challenges that we will encounter continuing research on resource dilution in families. The most important challenge is the plausible endogeneity of sibship size and thus biased estimates of the effect. The problem of endogeneity can be made worse through residual confounding caused by measurement error. I argue that we need to be creative and find many different ways to circumvent the problems of endogeneity, for example by looking for testable implications of the resource dilution model or studying specific situations or groups. Comparative or longitudinal studies, utilizing the variation and changes in societal contexts and institutions across time and place could also provide ways forward. In general it is the basics of the scientific method that we need to keep in mind when we continue research on this topic: formulate explicit models, do replication studies, separate exploratory and confirmatory analyses, report negative results, and be cautious of over-explaining results.

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