Fredrick Wamalwa and Justine Burns
In this paper, we investigate the effect of two important family characteristics – gender and birth order- on intra-household investments in, and educational outcomes of, children in Kenya. We measure intra-household education investments in children by household’s decision to enrol children in private schools and educational outcomes by two variables, completed years of education and relative grade attainment. We use a large household survey data that allows us to apply the family fixed effects models that address the potential endogeneity of children’s gender and family size as well as factors that are unobservable at the household
level. Although we do not find an intra-household gender preference in terms of investments in children’s education, there is a female advantage in terms of the two measured education outcomes. Such female advantage is in contrast with literature generally reported from developing countries. It is, however, in line with global trends which show that more girls are getting educated and the gender gap in education has narrowed considerably. Regarding birth order effects, we find significant negative birth order effects on private enrolment, completed years of education and relative grade attainment. The negative birth order effects are not in line with the evidence from many other developing countries but are in line with results from developed countries. Our results are robust to different sample restrictions. We find that household wealth plays a significant role in propagating the birth order but not the gender effects we observe.