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Family Size and the IQ Scores of Young Men



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Small Family Smart Family Family Size and the IQ Scores of Young Men by Sandra E Black Department of Economics UCLA NHH IZA and NBER sblack econ ucla edu Paul J Devereux School of Economics and Geary Institute University College Dublin CEPR and IZA devereux ucd ie Kjell G Salvanes Department of Economics Norwegian School of Economics Statistics Norway Center for the Economics of Education CEP and IZA kjell salvanes nhh no July 2008 Abstract This paper uses Norwegian data to estimate the effect of family size on IQ scores of men IV estimates using sex composition as an instrument show no significant negative effect of family size however IV estimates using twins imply that family size has a negative effect on IQ scores Our results suggest that the effect of family size depends on the type of family size intervention and that there are no important negative effects of expected increases in family size However unexpected shocks to family size resulting from twin births have negative effects on the IQ scores of existing children Black and Devereux gratefully acknowledge financial support from the National Science Foundation and the California Center for Population Research Salvanes thanks the Research Council of Norway for financial support We would like to thank Josh Angrist and seminar participants at UCD Geary Institute Pompeu Fabra CEMFI Madrid the Society of Labor Economists and the CEPR conference on The Formation and Use of Human Capital and Knowledge in Bergen Norway for useful suggestions We are grateful to the Medical Birth Registry for Norway for providing the birth registry data We are also indebted to Stig Jakobsen who was instrumental in obtaining data access to the IQ data from the Norwegian Armed Forces 1 Researchers have long reflected on the role of families in influencing the intelligence of their children Given evidence that intelligence is in part determined by the genetic structure of parents is there room for post birth family characteristics to



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