Previous studies have found that firstborn children enjoy a distinct advantage over their later- born counterparts in terms of educational attainment. This paper advances the state of knowledge in this area in two ways. First, it analyses the role of young peopleâ€™s aspirations, estimating the effects of sibling configurations on adolescentsâ€™ educational aspirations, and the importance of these aspirations on later attainment. Second, it employs multilevel modelling techniques, using household-based data which include information on multiple children living in the same families. The paper finds that firstborn children have higher aspirations, and that these aspirations play a significant role in determining later levels of attainment. We also demonstrate a significant positive effect of age spacing on educational attainment.
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