Effects of family size on children in China’s rural areas: interaction or resource dilution?

NIE Jingchun1 PANG Xiaopeng1 ZENG Junxia2 LONG Wenjin1

(1.School of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Renmin University of China, Beijing, China 100872)
(2.National School of Development, Peking University, Beijing, China 100871)

【Abstract】This study evaluated the effect of the sibling size on children's mental health and academic performance by adopting the propensity score matching method. The data were from a survey on rural areas in the western part of China. We found that the sibling size had two kinds of effects: interaction and the resource dilution. When the number of children was small, the effects of interaction were obvious. Children with one sibling had better mental health and academic performance than children without siblings. When children had two or more siblings, the limited resource in their family would be diluted by their siblings, so children with only one sibling had better mental health and academic performance than children without siblings.

【Keywords】 the sibling size; mental health; the resource dilution; propensity score matching;


【Funds】 Supported by The Discipline Innovative Engineering Plan (B16031)

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(Translated by GUO Changlei)


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This Article


CN: 22-1017/C

Vol 38, No. 06, Pages 5-16

November 2016


Article Outline


  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Research methods and data
  • 3 The number of children’s siblings in rural areas
  • 4 Empirical analytic results
  • 5 Conclusions and suggestions
  • Footnote